Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in consulate, Trump says Kingdom's account credible

Fredrick Soto
October 22, 2018

Six days after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, U.S. President Donald Trump tried to play down the crisis, saying "hopefully that will sort itself out".

Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi criticised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "authoritarian rule" shortly before his death, in an interview published following confirmation he died at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Trump's attempt to distance himself from profiting from Saudi Arabia is undercut by a long record showing deals his companies made with that country's government and citizens, media reports said. He changed his tone once again late this week, raising the prospect of sanctions against Riyadh.

Saudi Arabian officials do not know details of how dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in their consulate in Istanbul or where his body is, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday.

"I think we're getting close to solving a very big problem", Trump said.

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 entering his country's consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have claimed that a team of 15 Saudi men, including one who was identified by the press as an autopsy doctor, flew to Turkey specifically to kill Khashoggi at the consulate.

However, he has pushed back again any effort to cancel the mega United States dollars 110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia asserting that such a move will hurt U.S. economy and jobs.

In the Newsweek interview, Khashoggi, whose disappearance tipped Saudi Arabia into one of its worst global crises, said pushback from the worldwide community was vital to keeping the Saudi regime in check. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. The kingdom also announced that it fired five top officials and a number of lower officials were also relieved of their posts.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded urgent clarification on Khashoggi's killing. He initially said he believed the Saudi account.

Responding to a question, the United States president indicated that he would let the Congressmen take lead on the issue of particularly determining the action that needs to be taken against Saudi Arabia.

The king also ordered a restructuring of the intelligence service, to be led by Prince Mohammed, suggesting the prince still retained wide-ranging authority.

The decision to overhaul the intelligence apparatus and sack members of Crown Prince Mohammed's inner circle is created to "distance the crown prince from the murder", said analysis firm Eurasia Group.

The remarks came after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that he will reveal more about the investigation into Khashoggi's killing on Tuesday.

"Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody".

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