Pressure on Saudis over missing Khashoggi


Given what we know, it sure seems likely that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the new self-proclaimed "reformer" of Saudi Arabia, issued an assassination order, and dramatically underestimated the political blowback that would ensue.

Trump has been under pressure to take action on the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who has been living and writing in the United States, including columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump despatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom for what the State Department described as "face to face meetings with the Saudi leadership" to find out what happened. "Who knows, we're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial".

"Been hearing the ridiculous "rogue killers" theory was where the Saudis would go with this", Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said on Twitter.

Saudia Arabia is allegedly lining up a takeover bid for Manchester United as the kingdom faces global scrutiny over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the USA economically.

There was also a suggestion they had meant to abduct Khashoggi and take him to Saudi Arabia. The reports say Khashoggi turned on the sound recording capability on his device as he entered the Saudi consulate, and that the watch was connected to the iCloud and cell phone he left with his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, before he went inside. Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed and dismembered inside the consulate.

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They have now completed their search.

A Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey on Friday to discuss the case with Turkish authorities, following a Turkish presidential spokesperson's announcement that a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation team would be formed upon the kingdom's request. Saudi officials have denied the allegations. Saudi Arabia has denied that.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have pushed Trump to make a stronger response. Sen. Prince Mohammed told Reuters a year ago that Blackstone and BlackRock Inc were planning to open offices in the kingdom.

Khashoggi was once a prominent member of the Saudi kingdom and a top adviser to the royal family. They had showed up at the building not long after Saudis hired a cleaning crew to tidy up the place, seen on camera arriving with tools of their trade.

Officially entitled the Future Finance Initiative, the Saudi conference describes itself as an "international platform for expert-led debate between investors, innovators and governments as well as economic leaders".

It comes as Turkish and Saudi investigators on Monday were to begin conducting what Turkish officials called a joint "inspection" of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing almost two weeks ago.