Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

United States raises pressure on Saudi Arabia over missing journalist

United States raises pressure on Saudi Arabia over missing journalist

Republican Senator Rand Paul also said this week that he would attempt to force a vote in the Senate blocking United States arms sales to Saudi Arabia, if the reports about Khashoggi's disappearance prove true.

President Donald Trump was pressed in his lengthy Fox & Friends interview Thursday morning about what the U.S.is doing with regards to the disappearance and possible murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and prominent Saudi dissident who has not been since since walking into the Saudi embassy in Turkey last week.

Trump isn't providing any details on an investigation.

"I don't like stopping massive amounts of money that's been pouring into our country".

On Thursday afternoon, the US State Department said the Saudi ambassador to the US is headed back to Riyadh and the US government expects him to return to Washington with information on Khashoggi's disappearance. He warned that the Saudis could instead buy from Russian Federation or China.

The Post report, citing an unnamed "person familiar with the information", said the intercepted communications showed that as yet unidentified Saudi officials wanted to lure Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there.

The revelation marks a potentially explosive twist in the case of Mr. Khashoggi, 59, who vanished a week ago while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

But three US law enforcement sources said that because Khashoggi is not an American citizen and disappeared outside the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has no automatic jurisdiction to get involved in the case and could only become involved if requested by a foreign government such as Turkey.

What is Turkey and Saudi Arabia saying?

Under the law, Trump would have 120 days to report to the Senate with a determination and a decision on the imposition of sanctions. He did not elaborate. Khaled Saffuri, an Arab American political activist, told the Post that Khashoggi had discussed these offers with them and said that he would never take an offer like this seriously.

Meanwhile, there was a clear and growing disconnect between many in Congress, who want tougher action, and the president.

The Saudi Consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh who have not responded to questions about the 15 Saudis, who Sabah said travelled on diplomatic passports, arriving in Istanbul hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

TRT World also obtained footage showing Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2. According to CNN's Manu Raju, Corker said he was told that no such video exists, because the security feed only provides a live feed, with no recordings made. "If I had to bet today, they ordered it, they killed him and probably very high level people were aware of it", Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Al Jazeera.

Groups of men thought to be Saudi are seen entering Turkey via Istanbul airport, checking in at hotels and later leaving the country. U.S. ties have always been anchored by energy interests, counter-terror cooperation and more recently by U.S. -Saudi military cooperation in the Yemen civil war. "‎As the President has conveyed, the United States is concerned by his disappearance".

Lawmakers have been making increasingly strong statements regarding the U.S. -Saudi relationship this week after reports that the kingdom sought to silence one of its most outspoken critics. The administration's Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for an expected plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Post, a newspaper to which Khashoggi contributed, cited unnamed U.S. officials as saying that Saudi officials had been heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the USA state of Virginia, where he resided, and detain him.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker says he has reviewed U.S. intelligence reports suggesting that Khashoggi was killed on October 2, the day he went to the consulate.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday, she implored the president and his wife to "help shed light on Jamal's disappearance".

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