Germany banned all weapon sales to Saudi Arabia the Economic Ministry announced on November 19th.
This follows Germany’s decision to halt any new arms sales, however old ones were to still continue. This could possibly be significant, since Saudi Arabia imported more weapons than any other country in 2017. However, it is questionable how significant, since 84% of the Kingdom’s weapons purchases were from the US and the UK.
Furthermore, Germany’s foreign minister said Berlin banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because they are believed connected to Khashoggi’s killing. Heiko Maas said there are still “more questions than answers.” It is unclear who the 18 individuals are, but Maas said they are allegedly connected to the incident.
According to Maas, Germany made the decision to ban the individuals in “close coordination” with France and the UK.
Both France and the UK are yet to undertake any significant response to the Khashoggi murder, it would also be surprising if they did.
He said “as before, there are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it.”
This follows the CIA’s assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder. Donald Trump, however called the conclusion “premature, but possible.” He also said that “the killing never should have happened.”
Trump also claimed that he would receive a complete report of the Khashoggi murder on November 20th. The report will presumably explain who the US government believes killed Khashoggi and what the overall impact of his murder is, Trump said. It was unclear who is producing the report.
The State Department said the government was still working on determining responsibility for the death of Khashoggi.
“Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”
Nauert said the State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the journalist’s killing accountable “while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
On November 19th, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the CIA assessment was false.
“We in the kingdom know that such allegations about the crown prince have no basis in truth and we categorically reject them,” he said. “They are leaks that have not been officially announced, and I have noticed that they are based on an assessment, not conclusive evidence,” he added.
He also commented on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement that the kill order came from the highest level of the Saudi leadership, but probably not King Salman.
“We have already asked the Turkish authorities at the highest level about the meaning of these comments, and they confirmed to us categorically that the crown prince is not meant by these comments,” al-Jubeir said.
Earlier, on November 15th, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan said he was seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in the killing of Khashoggi. He also once more reiterated that MbS knew nothing of the operation.
Also on November 15th, a bipartisan group of senators released legislation that is to impose sanctions, prohibitions and restrictions against Saudi Arabia in regard to its intervention in Yemen, as well as the Khashoggi murder.
The result of the proposed legislation was this: Kirsten Fontenrose, a top White House official responsible for U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia, resigned on November 16th. According to the NYT he was pushing for tough sanctions on Saudi Arabia as a response to the Khashoggi murder. Two anonymous sources told the Times that Fontenrose had a dispute with her bosses at the National Security Council.
As it stands, Germany actually did fulfill his vow of sanctioning Saudi Arabia, however if it will make a dent is rather questionable.