'Disgraceful': How Saudi loyalists have responded to the Jamal Khashoggi story

Brenda Watkins
October 11, 2018

ISTANBUL-Turkish media published images Wednesday of an alleged 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" and video of suspicious movements at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul following journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance a week ago, putting new pressure on the kingdom amid growing worldwide concern for the writer. "That's why I want to say, we don't want to make any judgments about what happened, and we call for a thorough and transparent investigation".

"It's a very serious situation for us and this White House", Trump said.

Jamal Khashoggi is featured on a poster during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey.

"We are investigating all aspects of the event", Mr Erdogan said on Thursday, adding: "This is an incident which took place in our country; it is not possible for us to remain silent".

Trump said Wednesday night in an interview on Fox News that "so far it's looking a little bit like" the Saudis are behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, but said "I do hate to commit to what recourse we would take".

The fact that the Saudis under MBS, with Trump and Kushner's encouragement, can target an Establishment, non-dissident, ex-govt, mildly-critical-of-MBS Saudi public figure in this brutal & brazen way speaks volumes about what they think they can get away with - and do! Turkey has accused Riyadh of murdering the journalist inside the consulate, even saying that a special team of assassins cut him up into pieces so his body could be removed in a van.

Earlier Wednesday, a bipartisan group of more than 20 senators instructed Trump to order an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under legislation that authorizes the imposition of sanctions for perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross human rights violations.

United States intelligence officials reportedly intercepted communications that the Saudis discussed a plan to lure and capture Khashoggi before his disappearance.

Turkish authorities have privately said they believe Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the consulate.

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And in a social media post she explained how she was "not a victim, ' and accused the stand-up of being 'controlling". The insider reportedly said: "She bosses him around and treats him like a dogsbody".

Khashoggi, 59, is a longtime leading Saudi journalist and former government advisor who went into exile last year after 33-year-old Prince Mohammed rose to power underneath his father the king.

"I don't know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey".

Turkish media have identified 15 Saudis, including some officials, who made a mysterious one-day trip from Riyadh to Istanbul the day Khashoggi vanished at the consulate.

More than a week has passed since our last meeting outside the consulate of Saudi Arabia, before Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance became global news.

Paul also cited Saudi Arabia's intervention in neighboring Yemen's civil war.

Saudi Arabia has claimed the CCTV cameras were not working on Tuesday, to explain their inability to provide video evidence that Khashoggi left the consular building as they claimed he did. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim power, is also annoyed by Ankara's rapprochement with the kingdom's Shiite archrival, Iran. "We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before", Trump said.

Turkey says it will conduct a search of the Istanbul consulate, while Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said the country was "open to co-operation" and a search of the building could go ahead.

He continued: "Part of that is what we're doing with our defense systems and everybody's wanting them". The administration's Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for its yet-to-be-released plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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