How Saudis are getting away with Khashoggi murder

Glen Norman
October 28, 2018

Hatice Cengiz, who is Turkish, was interviewed by Turkish television channel HaberTurk, about the day her fiancé Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabia Consulate and was killed inside.

Saudi Arabia initially said Khashoggi had left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul alive on October 2, then claimed he had died in a fistfight there with Saudi officials.

Saudi Arabia's murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi has put at risk the overall plan to stabilize the Middle East, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a major policy speech here Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to draw a line under the crisis but a string of gruesome details about the murder have continued to appear in the Turkish media.

The comments came as pressure mounted on Saudi Arabia to reveal the whereabouts of Mr Khashoggi's remains and say who ordered the killing.

Saudi Arabia originally said Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate October 2, before offering various other narratives that President Donald Trump called "one of the worst in the history of cover-ups".

Mr Trump also said it was "possible" Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not know about the killing. We will hold those responsible accountable.

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl meanwhile suggested a joint European Union ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia could help bring the brutal Yemeni conflict to an end.

"The individuals are Saudi nationals, they are detained in Saudi Arabia, the investigation is in Saudi Arabia", al-Jubeir said at the same conference in Bahrain that Mattis is attending.

"I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice", she said.

The announcement contradicted an earlier Saudi assertion that rogue officials from the kingdom had killed Khashoggi by mistake in a brawl inside their Istanbul consulate. Saudi Arabia's allies have reacted with outrage towards a country that is the lynchpin of a US-backed regional bloc against growing Iranian influence in the Middle East, Reuters said.

Mattis said more measures would follow.

Leaders across the globe are facing a moral quandary over the sickening killing, with many buying oil from Saudi Arabia or selling the kingdom arms - and none more so than Donald Trump.

"We expect our request (for the suspects') return to be fulfilled because this atrocious event took place in Turkey", said Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul. King Salman has assigned his son, the crown prince, to oversee the restructuring of the kingdom's intelligence bodies in the aftermath of the killing.

Germany last month approved 416 million euros ($480 million) worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018. "But his statements were at very short intervals and they were contradictory".

Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of backing their archrival, Iran, and supporting terrorism.

Five Saudi officials, including two who worked directly under the crown prince, have been relieved of their posts.

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