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MARCH 2021

Trump Says It Would Be ‘Foolish’ to Cancel Saudi Arms Deals Despite Obvious Assasination Of Journalist In Saudi Consulate In Turkey


Trump Says It Would Be 'Foolish' to Cancel Saudi Arms Deals Despite Obvious Assasination Of Journalist In Saudi Consulate In Turkey

Turkish outlet, Daily Sabah reported on October 13th reported that the journalist’s smartwatch may play an important role into the investigation. The outlet, citing anonymous sources in a special intelligence department, said that authorities have discovered that Jamal’s watch recorded audio of his meeting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which was then sent to a phone he gave his fiancée ahead of his meeting.

Saudi Arabia still maintains that Khashoggi left the consulate alone and that they have played no part whatsoever in his disappearance.

On October 13th, the International Press Institute’s Daoud Kuttab said that US President Donald Trump’s “tirades against journalism” and claims of “fake news” encourage leaders in other parts of the world to limit press freedom.

“The rhetoric coming out of the White House, coming out of the president, attacks daily on news as being fake news gives the permission to autocratic leaders to take out their own opposition and independent journalists,” he was cited by Al Jazeera.

“Leaders around the world and especially autocratic leaders watch the White House and the president carefully. When the president of the US says that journalists are the enemies of the people, that’s music to their ears and the feel like they can get a green light or a yellow light from America to do what they want [to] their own journalists,” Kuttab further commented.

On the same day, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres expressed his fear that “enforced disappearances” have become the “new normal.”

Speaking to the BBC at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Bali, Guterres said governments must respond appropriately once a “clear answer” on what happened to Khashoggi emerges.

“I must say I am feeling worried [at] this apparent new normal,” he said. “Because this kind of incident is multiplying and it’s absolutely essential to make sure that the international community says clearly that this is not something that can happen,” he was cited by the BBC.

“We need to know exactly what has happened and we need to know exactly who is responsible and, of course, when we see the multiplication of this kind of situation, I think we need to find ways in which accountability is also demanded,” he urged.

In the UK, Mark Menzies, chair of the all-party parliamentarian group on Saudi Arabia, together with several other members of British Parliament expressed concern regarding the disappearance. He and the other 12 MPs wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremy Hunt calling for a “thorough investigation.”

“Clearly this is a very concerning case, with serious implications for the future of Saudi Arabia and her relations with liberal democracies worldwide,” his comment said. “The UK must call for a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi, and stand ready to support all authorities in their inquiries,” Menzies continued.

On October 12th, US President Donald Trump said he would be calling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “pretty soon.”

“I will be calling, at some point, King Salman, I’ll be speaking to him pretty soon,” Trump said. “We’re gonna find out what happened with respect to the terrible situation in Turkey having to do with Saudi Arabia and the reporter.”

He was, however, hesitant to strongly criticize one of his closest allies. “It is potentially a really, really terrible situation,” Trump said.

Nonetheless, leaving for a rally in Kentucky, Trump told media that the US would be “foolish” to cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia in response to the incident with the Saudi journalist.

“We’re just hurting ourselves,” he said adding that this move may impact US workers more than Saudi Arabia.

Another argument used by Trump is that such a move would benefit to China and Russia, which are ready to use any US-Saudi rift to sell own arms to the kingdom.

France24 also cited French President Emmanuel Macron who said he was “extremely worried” about the disappearance. “I am waiting for the truth and complete clarity to be established. What’s being mentioned is serious, very serious […] France wants everything to be done so that we have all the truth on this case of which the first elements are extremely worrying.”

The French leader said he would undertake action once there are established facts.

On October 12th, a spokesperson for the Future Investment Initiative that is to be held on October 23rd in the Saudi Arabia said that the conference would still take place, despite numerous speakers and partners have pulled out of the event.

“While it is disappointing that some speakers and partners have pulled out, we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of speakers, moderators and guests from all over the world to Riyadh from Oct. 23-25,” the statement said.

So far, on October 12th, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and The New York Times, as well as reporters and editors from the Economist and CNBC said on Friday they were no longer participating.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of ride-sharing company Uber, Bob Bakish, CEO of US mass media conglomerate Viacom and billionaire Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL also said they would not attend.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim also said he would not attend, citing a scheduling conflict.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchins and top Wall Street banks said they would attend. So US support of questionable Saudi misconduct continues as usual.



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