Friday, 19 October, 2018

Senators Call for US Probe of Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi Case

The image taken from Turkey's Daily Sabah shows 15 Saudi operatives suspected of having killed Kamal Khashoggi upon his arrival at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert
Julia Gonzales | 11 October, 2018, 20:14

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chair of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said us 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.

Global pressure has mounted on close USA ally Saudi Arabia over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, who entered the consulate to get documents for his planned marriage.

The Times adds that "media reports have cited Turkish investigators as saying they believe he was killed soon after entering the building and his corpse cut to pieces and disposed of by an elite Saudi security team".

The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a contributor, published a surveillance image Tuesday showing the Saudi reporter at the consulate.

Mr Erdogan was quoted by Turkish media today as telling journalists flying with him back home from a visit to Hungary that "we can not remain silent to such an incident". It was unclear when that might happen.

Trump on Thursday said: "We're being very tough".

But three USA law enforcement sources said that because Khashoggi is not an American citizen and disappeared outside the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has no automatic jurisdiction to get involved in the case and could only become involved if requested by a foreign government such as Turkey.

The outcry from lawmakers of both parties, including Republican allies of Trump, foreign policy analysts, former USA officials and leading media commentators who knew Khashoggi, has intensified pressure on the White House to take a hard line.

But Turkish officials declined to go on record as Turkey tries to manage its hard relationship with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, however, has been a major U.S. ally in the Middle East since WWII, including serving as the launching pad for the 1991 Gulf War and, most recently, as the linchpin of regime change efforts directed against Iran and Syria. "We're demanding everything", Mr Trump said when asked if he was demanding information from the Saudis.

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Kaye said he did not have "any particular plan" about what the worldwide investigation would look like, but that "multiple models" - such as a United Nations -mandated probe - exist. Yet Jamal did not think the Saudis could force him to stay at the consulate in Turkey, even if they wanted to arrest him.

"Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?", Erdogan said.

Khashoggi, a Virginia-based critic of bin Salman's policies, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last week for some paperwork regarding his divorce, but he never exited the mission. REUTERS/Osman Orsal NO RESALES.

Turkish media has published images 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.

"The recent disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights", the letter said.

Khashoggi had, however, voiced distrust of the Saudi officials, and said they were unlikely to keep their words. A day earlier, the state department called for Saudi Arabia to conduct a thorough probe into the case.

Last month, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said Australia was looking to sign formal defence industry agreements with both Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates, The Australian reported.

She also urged Saudi Arabia to release CCTV footage of when her fiance disappeared.

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