UAE slams 'fierce campaign' against Saudi Arabia

Howard TerryOct 12, 2018

Saudi officials were heard discussing a plan to lure Mr Khashoggi from the U.S. state of Virginia, where he resided, and detain him, the "Washington Post" reported, citing unnamed USA officials discussing intelligence intercepts. One Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press to discuss an ongoing police investigation, previously described that official as an "autopsy expert".

His comments prompted pushback from members of the U.S. Senate, including from some of his fellow Republicans, many of whom signed a letter on Wednesday forcing his administration to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance and paving the way to possible sanctions on Saudi officials.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said if Saudi Arabia had lured a US resident into a consulate and killed him, "it's time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia".

The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Jamal Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him.

In a communique sent to journalists Thursday, Paris-based RSF called for an independent investigation to establish what happened to Khashoggi.

RSF suggests such a probe could be carried out by the U.N. special rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the U.N. special rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, in conjunction with the U.N. working group.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said national security adviser John Bolton and presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke Tuesday to Crown Prince Mohammed about Khashoggi. But senior members of Congress with access to USA intelligence reporting feared the worst. His fiancée, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi was killed in the building.

WASHINGTON/ISTANBUL, Oct 11 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he saw no reason to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, possibly setting up a clash with the U.S. Congress. "We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country". Some U.S. lawmakers want the U.S.to stop the military sales because of Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in the case of a missing Saudi writer who vanished after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance set off a firestorm of accusations, criticism and political tension after the Saudi national failed to return from a visit to the consulate on October 2.

Some senators are questioning American support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen as anger intensifies with the kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sen. Chris Murphy is calling for at least a temporary halt in US support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. Many lawmakers, including some Republicans, have already questioned US support for Saudi's involvement in Yemen's civil war, which has prompted a humanitarian crisis.

In addition, three Republican and four Democratic senators have written Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raising concerns over last month's certification that the Saudi-led coalition was taking actions to protect civilians.

Trump, who sealed a $110 billion deal for US companies to sell arms to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip as president in May 2017, said Washington was looking into the disappearance.

There are fears that Jamal Khashoggi, who's contributed columns to The Washington Post, has been murdered. I think there are other ways.

He was asked about a Post report that US intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi.

Bob Corker, one of Senate foreign relations committee member briefed on United States intelligence on the case said,"It does appear that he's been murdered, and I think over the next several days, things are going to become much clearer".

The Trump administration, however, is heavily invested in the long-standing, USA relationship with Riyadh. When he was asked whether the writer's disappearance could put those ties in jeopardy, Trump said: "I have to find out what happened".

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chairwoman of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said USA support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won't endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests.

Under U.S. law, major foreign sales of military equipment can be blocked by Congress. It was not clear that US officials had seen the footage or heard the audio, the Post reported, but Turkish officials have described the recordings to them.

While the reports provide nothing definitive, they darken the picture surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance. He says that stepping back from arms sales to the Saudis "a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".

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