Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Saudis to Turkey: Search our consulate for missing WaPo columnist, dissenter

Bennie Garza | 10 October, 2018, 13:47

The Foreign Secretary has today spoken to his Saudi counterpart, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, about the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

As Jamal Khashoggi prepared to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, a squad of men from Saudi Arabia who investigators suspect played a role in his disappearance was ready and in place. It would make it more hard for the two governments to come up with a face-saving story blaming Khashoggi's disappearance on some third party, on rogue elements of the Saudi security forces, or on an accident during an interrogation that went wrong.

The Khashoggi disappearance is clearly uncomfortable for the Trump administration because it has developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabia and endorsed the reform agenda of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known by his initials "MBS", who spent years developing and implementing a plan to make Saudi Arabia a more open and hospitable investment environment for the Western world. However, the consulate has other entrances and exits as well, through which Saudi officials insist he left.

Turan Kislakci, a friend of Khashoggi, said the 59-year-old told him he had been invited to return to Riyadh by the crown prince to act as an adviser. And hopefully that will sort itself out.

The details will add to pressure on the Saudi government to explain who the 15 Saudis were and what they were doing during their brief trip to Istanbul.

Turkey's security services who are investigating Khashoggi's disappearance believe that within two hours of his arrival at the Saudi consulate last week, a "team of Saudi agents" killed him and then dismembered him with a bone saw that was brought in specifically for that goal.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said US officials have raised the matter with their Saudi counterparts.

Turkish authorities repeatedly said that Khashoggi never left the consulate premises.

Turkey conveyed its expectation of "full cooperation" from Riyadh in search of Khashoggi, Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkish authorities have told MEE they believe Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of the Saudi govenrment, was killed soon after entering the building.

Saudi officials meant to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reported the source as saying, but it was unclear what they meant to do with him - and whether the US ever warned Khashoggi of the threat he faced.

Saudi Arabia to allow Turkey to search consulate for Jamal Khashoggi; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports.

The surveillance image bore a date and time stamp, as well as a Turkish caption saying that Khashoggi was arriving at the consulate.

The Turkish government is demanding access to the diplomatic facility to search it after allegations that Khashoggi had been chopped up inside the building and his body parts sent to Saudi in boxes, rocked Middle East relations.

Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid Bin Salman has responded to what he termed as "grim and malicious" rumors over the investigation surrounding the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Still, Khashoggi's disappearance gives Democrats in particular an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Trump's good rapport with authoritarian leaders.

"We call for cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to make the findings public", United Nations human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

"It is like 'Pulp Fiction, '" the official commented.

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