Trump on Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance and Likely Murder
On Sunday, Trump was interviewed on CBS’ 60 Minutes for the first time as president. Among other issues, the Khashoggi incident was discussed. More on this below.
Make no mistake. The Saudis bear full responsibility for his disappearance and likely murder.
After entering its Istanbul consulate on October 2, he hasn’t been seen or heard from since. There’s little ambiguity about his fate, only the precise details.
Turkish police believe he was killed inside the consulate, his body perhaps “evaporated” in acid, their probe into his disappearance continuing.
According to Turkish-Arab Media Association head Turan Kislakci, a Khashoggi friend, the Saudis likely disposed of his body after killing him inside the consulate. He never emerged after entering it.
Turkish journalist Sevilay Yilman said “(p)olice and the MIT (Ankara’s national intelligence agency) are looking into whether the body of Khashoggi was dissolved using acid.”
In response to possible sanctions or other punitive actions by nations against Riyadh over the incident, it issued a statement saying:
“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure.”
Riyadh will “respond to any action with a bigger one.” Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that the kingdom has “over 30 (retaliatory) measures” it could implement.
US and other Western anger over the Khashoggi incident is largely rhetorical.
These nations aren’t about to disrupt longstanding relations with the kingdom, not as long as it’s oil rich and invests billions of dollars in these countries, buying their weapons and other products, along with maintaining large holdings of their equities and bonds.
The Saudi/West strategic partnership remains strong. Furor over what happened to Khashoggi will pass.
On Sunday, Turkish President Erdogan and Saudi king Salman spoke by phone, agreeing on forming a joint working group to probe case.
Saudi super-wealth buys lots of influence. Will handing enough to Turkey through investments and/or purchases of its products resolve differences between the countries over the Khashoggi incident?
Will the kingdom smooth things with the US and other Western countries the same way? Enough money thrown at geopolitical problems often resolves them.
Asked about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely murder by the Saudis on 60 Minutes, Trump said the following:
“Nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out. It’s being investigated. It’s being looked at very, very strongly.”
“(W)e would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment, they deny it…Could it be them? Yes. In the not-too-distant future, I think we’ll know an answer.”
Asked about his options, including imposition of sanctions on the kingdom, he clearly indicated what he won’t do, saying he has no intention to stop selling the kingdom weapons.
“I don’t wanna lose an order like that,” he said. “There are other ways of — punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true.”
“There’s a lot at stake. And maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There’s something… You’ll be surprised to hear me say that.”
“There’s something really terrible and disgusting about that, if that were the case. So we’re gonna have to see. We’re going to get to the bottom of it and, there will be severe punishment.”
There’s no ambiguity about Saudi responsibility for what happened to Khashoggi. The US and other Western response will likely be no more than meaningless slap-on-the-risk “punishment” at most.
These countries intend continuing dirty business as usual with the kingdom, including their alliance in waging war OF terror in the Middle East – in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”