Saudi: ‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

Global condemnation as Saudi exonerates crown prince’s aides over journalist’s murder, but US welcomes ‘important step’.

'Antithesis of justice': Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned
Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [File: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo]

The United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard, Turkey and international rights groups have roundly condemned a Saudi court verdict over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it failed to deliver justice.

But despite global condemnation, a US State Department official hailed the verdict as “an important step” in holding the perpetrators accountable.

Five people were sentenced to death on Monday over the brutal killing of the writer by a team of Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October, but two top aides to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – the de facto Saudi leader – were exonerated.

The Saudi prosecutor’s office said a total of 31 people were investigated in connection with the killing, and that 11 people were charged. Three were handed jail terms totalling 24 years and the rest were acquitted. None of the defendants’ names was immediately released.

“The investigation showed that the killing was not premeditated … The decision was taken at the spur of the moment,” Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said, a position contradicting the findings of a United Nations-led investigation.

More:

In a series of tweets, Callamard explained that the verdict contravened international law.

“The execution of Jamal Khashoggi demanded an investigation into the chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed or turned a blind eye to the murder, such as the crown prince. This was not investigated,” she said. 

“The hitmen are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the trial was “all but satisfactory”.

The case was “shrouded in secrecy since the beginning, and it’s still … until now … We do not know the identities of those masked perpetrators, we don’t know the specific charge levelled against who exactly,” Benchemsi said.

“Saudi prosecutors did not even attempt to investigate the upper levels of this crime, and whether they played a role in ordering the killing, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he added.

Khashoggi, a critic of MBS, was living in self-imposed exile in the United States, where he had been granted residency status.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder.

Turkish intelligence agencies concluded that he was killed in a premeditated murder, while the CIA has reportedly concluded that MBS likely ordered the killing. But Riyadh has consistently denied that the crown prince was involved.

Here are the reactions to the Saudi verdict:

Turkey

Turkey described the verdict as “scandalous” and said those responsible for the murder had been granted immunity.

“Those who dispatched a death squad to Istanbul on a private jet … and sought to sweep this murder under the rug have been granted immunity,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, wrote on Twitter.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision “is far from meeting the expectations of both our country and the international community to shed light on the murder with all its dimensions, and deliver justice”.

Ankara said there was no clarity on key aspects of the murder including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body, labelling it a “fundamental deficiency” in terms of accountability.

UN rapporteur

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, who has previously directly linked MBS to the killing, said the sentence “is anything but justice”.

“Under international human rights law, the killing of Khashoggi was an extrajudicial execution for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” she wrote on Twitter.

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

g) According to my sources, the prosecutor had argued that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi had been premeditated. The Crown Prince had argued that this was an accident against the evidence. Guess who the Judge followed?

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

h) The defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders. The prosecutor had publicly stated that Saud al-Qahtani, Crown Prince personal adviser, had demanded the abduction of Jamal Khashoggi (on the grounds he was a threat to national security.) And yet, he remains free

132 people are talking about this

“Bottom line: the hit men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery,” said Callamard, who does not speak for the UN but reports her findings to it.

United States

The US also welcomed the sentences, calling the ruling an “important step”.

“Today’s verdicts were an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable,” a US Department of State official told reporters after the ruling.

The US “encouraged Saudi Arabia to undertake a fair and transparent judicial process”, the official added.

“We’re pressing them for more transparency and for holding everybody accountable.”

Reporters Without Borders

Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said that justice was “trampled on” with the death sentences meted out after a trial that did not respect international standards of justice.

The group’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire tweeted that the sentences “can be interpreted as a means to permanently silence the suspects, a way to prevent them from speaking to better cover up the truth”.

“The opacity of the procedure and the concealment of evidence does not allow us to get an idea” of why several others were convicted or acquitted, said Deloire, adding: “We still expect a full accounting.”

Amnesty International

Amnesty International criticized the verdict as a “whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones”.

“Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi,” said Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf.

“The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains,” she said in a statement.

Hatice Cengiz

The verdict left Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz unsatisfied, with her saying on Twitter that the “Saudi announcement not acceptable”.

Hatice Cengiz / خديجة

@mercan_resifi

Saudi announcement not acceptable ..!

View image on Twitter
210 people are talking about this

United Kingdom

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned “the use of the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle”.

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime,” Raab said in a statement. “Mr Khashoggi’s family deserve to see justice done for his brutal murder. Saudi Arabia must ensure all of those responsible are held to account and that such an atrocity can never happen again.”

Salah Khashoggi

The slain journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, said his family had achieved justice, thanks to the verdict of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.

“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved,” he said in a Twitter post.

Karen Attiah

Khashoggi’s friend and editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, said the trial was “a complete sham”.

“Justice for Jamal Khashoggi’s senseless, horrific death is not more senseless death,” she said. “More anonymous bloodshed is not closure. The ‘trials’ were in secret. For all we know, these five men who have been sentenced to death may not deserve the ultimate penalty.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 – 11:30
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Armco and stock market officials celebrate during the official ceremony marking the debut of Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Riyadh’s stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Aramco achieved the $2 trillion valuation sought by Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday as the newly-listed state-owned oil company’s shares rose sharply on their second day of trading.

Shares jumped in trading to reach up to 38.60 Saudi riyals, or $10.29 before noon, three hours before trading closes.

Aramco has sold a 1.5% share to mostly Saudi investors and local Saudi and Gulf-based funds.

With gains made from just two days of trading, Aramco sits comfortably ahead of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, the second-largest company in the world valued at $1.19 trillion.

MbS is the architect of the effort to list Aramco, touting it as a way to raise capital for the kingdom´s sovereign wealth fund, which would then develop new cities and lucrative projects across the country that create jobs for young Saudis.

He had sought a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco when he first announced in 2015 plans to sell a sliver of the state-owned company.

International investors, however, thought the price was too high, given the relatively lower price of oil, climate change concerns and geopolitical risks associated with Aramco. The company’s main crude oil processing facility and another site were targeted by missiles and drones in September, knocking out more than half of Saudi production for some time. The kingdom and the US have blamed the attack on rival Iran, which denies involvement.

In the lead-up to the flotation, there had been a strong push for Saudis, including princes and businessmen, to contribute to what´s seen locally as a moment of national pride, and even duty. Gulf-based funds from allied countries also contributed to the IPO, though it has largely been propelled by Saudi capital.

At a ceremony Wednesday for the start of trading, Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, described the sale as “a proud and historic moment for Saudi Aramco and our majority shareholder, the kingdom.”

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

(OPED: by OLDPOET56)

 

I know that there are a lot of people who don’t even know who the Kurdish people are and that is a shame because they have been a Ally to the U.S. military for decades now. They have fought along side our troops in Syria for years now helping us to defang ISIS and other terrorists in that region. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group of people in the whole world that does not have a country of their own. The eastern population of Turkey has a huge percent of Kurdish people within their borders as well as in N.W. Syria, Northern Iraq and N.W. Iran. We have armed and trained the Kurd people for many years now but now that ISIS is supposedly defunct in Syria President Trump has turned his/our back on these people again but even worse this time.

 

Turkey’s President Erdogan has been trying to commit genocide of the Kurdish people every since he took office. Now, with the help of Iran and Trumps good friend President Putin of Russia President Erdogan has his military set up 20 miles deep into Syria (against the Syrian governments wishes) for the purpose of killing the Kurd’s. This Turk military action is also against the wishes of President Trump’s other good friend the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia MBS. The only reason that I can think of why President Trump would commit treason against the Kurdish people is because of his butt buddy Putin asking him too. For President Trump to agree with this Genocide of the Kurdish people is beneath the dignity of a snakes belly but then again this plays all to true for this President.

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

Thursday, 19 September, 2019 – 09:00
Saudi Arabia displays the wreckage of the Iranian weapons that were used in the oil facilities attack. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
An American report revealed Wednesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had approved the attack against two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last week.

He gave his blessing “but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement,” a US official told CBS News.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed wreckage of Iranian cruise missiles and drones. The circuit boards can be reverse engineered to determine the exact route the weapons flew, said the report.

“But US officials said the most damning evidence is still unreleased satellite photos showing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz Air Base in southwestern Iran,” it added.

The satellite photos were of no use in stopping the attack since their significance was not realized until after the fact, explained the report.

“We were caught completely off guard,” one US official said.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The French army spokesman said it sent seven experts to Saudi Arabia to join an investigation.

UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” against Saudi Arabia, would be a major focus of next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting.

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

We’re Not the Saudis’ Mercenaries

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

We’re Not the Saudis’ Mercenaries

Trump brought the crisis with Iran on himself.

Nicholas Kristof

By 

Opinion Columnist

ImageSecretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
CreditCreditPool photo by Mandel Ngan

Robert Gates, the former defense secretary, once scoffed that Saudi Arabia “wants to fight the Iranians to the last American.”

The danger is that we slip toward that nightmare. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran has committed an “act of war” by attacking Saudi oil processing centers. Influential hawks like Senator Lindsey Graham have suggested carrying out strikes on Iranian oil refineries.

Meanwhile, Iran is warning that it will retaliate for any strike with a “rapid and crushing” response.

President Trump faces a conundrum. If Iran was behind the attack on Saudi Arabia, that was a serious provocation. It’s reasonable to wonder if Iranian leaders are emboldened because they see Trump as someone full of just bluster and bombast.

“He is not a lion, he is a rabbit,” said Ali Bigdeli, a political analyst in Tehran, according to a Times article by David D. Kirkpatrick and Farnaz Fassihi.

Iran may have concluded that Trump is the mother of all bunny rabbits after the lack of any kinetic response to attacks on oil shipping in May and June, or to Iran’s shooting down of an American drone in June.

The upshot is that hawks are urging Trump to be tougher this time and to consider bombing Iranian targets. That would be even more dangerous than a perception of weakness, for it could quickly escalate. Iran would strike back at sites in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, and it would target American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A full war with Iran would be a catastrophe. Iran has twice the population of Iraq and would be a much more formidable foe than Iraq was.

So Trump has a genuine dilemma: Inaction may be perceived as weakness, while military strikes may escalate and drag us into cataclysm. But this is a dilemma of Trump’s own making.

We are in this mess because Trump abandoned the landmark 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Hawks argued that we could apply maximum pressure on Iran and inflict such pain that it would buckle, without appreciating that Iran could also ramp up the pressure on us.

That’s the problem with hawks. They plan out their chess games and triumphantly plot a checkmate without appreciating the basic lesson of Sun Tzu or Clausewitz that the other side also gets to move.

Unfortunately, without the Iran nuclear deal, all options are bad. We should be searching for ways to return to the agreement, with face-saving tweaks that would allow both Trump and the Iranian supreme leader to claim victory.

Instead, I’m afraid we risk slipping into conflict. Nobody wants a war, but getting out of this will require skillful diplomacy, which isn’t something the Trump team has much demonstrated.

We need not be Saudi Arabia’s guard dog, or lap dog. Yes, Iran is a threat to international security — but so is Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi Arabia that kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, caused a schism with Qatar and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Attacking Saudi oil installations was a breach of global norms — as was murdering and dismembering a columnist for The Washington Post who was a resident of the United States. Saudi Arabia has the gall to call for an international inquiry into the attack on its oil installations, even as it blocks any international investigation into the murder of my friend Jamal Khashoggi.

Macabre new transcripts show that the Saudi hit squad was discussing the dismemberment even before Jamal walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. “I know how to cut very well,” one member of the team said. “I have never worked on a warm body, though.”

Saudi Arabia continues to imprison a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Loujain al-Hathloul, after earlier torturing and sexually assaulting her for advocating women’s rights. The kingdom apparently offered Hathloul freedom if she would publicly deny that she had been tortured; she bravely refused.

Trump might seek Saudi input on whether to go to war with Iran by placing a call not only to a killer on a throne but also to a hero in prison.

If Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to respond militarily to the airstrikes on its oil facilities, he can go ahead with the kingdom’s own fighter jets and missiles. But this is not our fight. Nor should it be our graveyard.

This is a struggle between two misogynistic, repressive regimes that are both destabilizing the region. And Trump’s suggestion that we will be well paid for defending Saudi Arabia is an insult to our troops, casting them as mercenaries working for a thuggish potentate.

Our task instead should be to cooperate with European countries to get out of this muck and find a way back into the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: [email protected].

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The Times since 2001. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur. You can sign up for his free, twice-weekly email newsletter and follow him on Instagram@NickKristof  Facebook

READ 48 COMMENTS

37 people beheaded by Saudi Arabian government in mass execution

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

37 people beheaded by Saudi Arabian government in mass execution

  • Updated 
  •  2
Saudi Arabia
In this March 31, 2019 file photo, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in Tunis, Tunisia. Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday, April 23, 2019, that 37 Saudi citizens have been beheaded in a mass execution that took place across various regions of the country. King Salman ratified the executions for terrorism-related crimes by royal decree. (Fethi Belaid/Pool Photo via AP, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a mass execution across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes. It also publicly pinned the executed body and severed head of a convicted Sunni extremist to a pole as a warning to others.

The executions were likely to stoke further regional and sectarian tensions between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed, who runs the Gulf Institute in Washington, identified 34 of those executed as Shiites based on the names announced by the Interior Ministry.

“This is the largest mass execution of Shiites in the kingdom’s history,” he said.

Amnesty International also confirmed the majority of those executed were Shiite men. The rights group said they were convicted “after sham trials” that relied on confessions extracted through torture.

It marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since Jan. 2, 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people for terrorism-related crimes in what was the largest mass execution carried out by Saudi authorities since 1980.

Among those executed three years ago were four Shiites, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked protests from Pakistan to Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi-Iran ties have not recovered and the embassy remains shuttered.

King Salman ratified by royal decree Tuesday’s mass execution and that of 2016. The king, who has empowered his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has asserted a bolder and more decisive leadership style than previous monarchs since ascending to the throne in 2015.

Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty for 5 Suspects in Khashoggi Killing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(SO, THIS ARTICLE SHOWS THAT THE SAUDI CROWN PRINCE IS NOW PLANNING ON MURDERING 5 MORE PEOPLE WHEN IN REALITY THE ONLY PERSON THAT SHOULD BE ON TRIAL FOR MR. KHASHOGGI’S MURDER IS THE CROWN PRINCE HIMSELF BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN PROVEN THAT HE IS THE ONE WHO ORDERED THE MURDER!) (oldpoet56)

Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty for 5 Suspects in Khashoggi Killing

An autopsy expert. A lookalike. A black van. Our video investigation follows the movements of the 15-man Saudi hit team that killed and dismembered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Published On 

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor on Thursday formally requested the death penalty for five suspects in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, but provided no new information about the murder or the investigation into how it happened.

The killing of Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has badly tarnished the international reputation of the kingdom and of its crown prince and day-to-day ruler, Mohammed bin Salman.

After weeks of insisting that Mr. Khashoggi had left the consulate alive on Oct. 2, the kingdom finally acknowledged in November that its agents had killed and dismembered him, and vowed to hold the perpetrators accountable.

After the first court session in the case on Thursday, the public prosecutor’s office released a statement saying that it had requested the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged.

It did not provide any of the suspects’ names, or any details about what role they might have played in the crime. Nor did the statement explain why the prosecutor had sought the death penalty against some but not others.

Turkish officials and investigations by The New York Times have found that Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was the result of a complex operation that involved at least 15 agents who flew into Turkey specifically for the job, many of them closely connected to Prince Mohammed.

They included intelligence agents who had traveled with the crown prince, a physician who specialized in autopsies and brought a bone saw, and a body double who donned Mr. Khashoggi’s clothes and walked around Istanbul seeking to leave a false trail of evidence that he was still alive.

Saudi Arabia has insisted that despite the complexity of the operation, the decision to kill Mr. Khashoggi, 59, was made by the team on the ground and had not been ordered by their superiors in Riyadh.

Mr. Khashoggi had been close to the Saudi royal family before Prince Muhammad’s rise to power. He moved to the United States and became a public critic of the Saudi government, writing columns for The Washington Post.

Demonstrating that it will hold accountable those responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s killing is expected to be a crucial part of the kingdom’s efforts to move past the scandal, which has complicated its foreign relations and scared off Western investors it was counting on to support its cultural and economic reform plans.

But it remains unclear whether the trial, and the lack of public information about the legal proceedings, will quell worries in the West about Saudi Arabia’s respect for the rule of law. The kingdom’s courts enforce a strict interpretation of Shariah law, the legal code of Islam based on the Quran, but are also easily influenced by the country’s royal leaders, critics say.

While the Trump administration, which considers the kingdom under Prince Mohammed’s leadership an important ally in the Middle East, has stood by the prince, United States intelligences services and members of Congress believe that he ordered the killing.

The Saudi statement did not say when the next hearing in the case would take place. It said the suspects appeared with their lawyers, were given copies of the charges against them and asked for time to prepare their defenses.

Ky Senator: Rand Paul blasts ‘deep state’ for shutting him out of CIA briefing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘POLITICO’)

 

CONGRESS

Rand Paul blasts ‘deep state’ for shutting him out of CIA briefing

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lashed out at the “deep state” Tuesday for excluding him and other senators from a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

The briefing was limited to a select group of lawmakers, including leaders of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee.

The meeting comes after bipartisan outrage that Haspel didn’t attend an administration briefing for senators last week on Khashoggi’s killing, which took place at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Turkey earlier this year.

Haspel was also sent to Capitol Hill as part of a bid to stave off a Senate vote on whether to pull U.S. support for Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.

Paul said that the exclusion of most senators was undemocratic and that Haspel should have testified before all senators.

“There are eight people in Congress who get briefings on intelligence,” Paul said. “That is not democracy. That is not democratic representation nor is it democratic oversight.

Paul added that he only heard about the meeting from media reports.

“I think the very definition of the deep state is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress,” he said.

AN F.U. Statement To The World: Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Argentina

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Argentina

Wednesday, 28 November, 2018 – 10:15
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, arrived in Argentina on Wednesday after leaving Tunisia on the last leg of his Arab tour.

Upon leaving Carthage Presidential Palace, the Crown Prince was seen off by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

At the Presidential Airport, the Crown Prince was also seen off by Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, and a number of senior officials, it said.

Crown Prince Mohammed will attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of this week.

His Arab tour included Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Tunisia.

Don-key Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia

Defending stance on Khashoggi killing, US president suggests that without Washington’s ‘strong ally’ Riyadh, Israel would be forced ‘to leave’ region

US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Israel would face major regional difficulties in the Middle East if it were not for the stabilizing presence of Saudi Arabia.

“Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.

The US president was asked to comment on reports that the CIA had concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the brutal murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

“If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “So what does that mean, Israel is going to leave? You want Israel to leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia.”

“The fact is that Saudi Arabia is tremendously helpful in the Middle East, if we didn’t have Saudi Arabia we wouldn’t have a big base, we wouldn’t have any reason probably…” Trump said, without finishing the sentence.

Critics in Congress and high-ranking officials in other countries have accused Trump of ignoring human rights and giving Saudi Arabia a pass for economic reasons, including its influence on the world oil market.

Noting that Saudi Arabia helps keep oil prices down, Trump on Thursday argued that almost no country is without its faults.

“If we go by a certain standard we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country,” he said.

People hold posters picturing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and candles during a gathering outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, on October 25, 2018. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

Citing vehement denials by the Saudi crown prince and king that they were involved in Khashoggi’s killing, which he termed “an atrocity,” Trump said, “maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place.”

Trump said this week he would not impose harsher penalties on the crown prince over the death and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi.

On Tuesday, Trump also mentioned Israel in justifying why US-Saudi ties would not suffer over the Khashoggi scandal.

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel, and all other partners in the region,” he said.

Earlier this month, in Israel’s first public comments on the murder of Khashoggi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while the killing was “horrendous,” it was still necessary to preserve stability in the Arab kingdom.

Netanyahu’s comments came a day after the Washington Post reported that the Israeli leader had recently urged the White House to maintain its support for the crown prince amid growing criticism over the killing of Khashoggi. Netanyahu told Trump administration officials that the crown prince was a key strategic partner and a linchpin of the alliance against Iranian encroachment in the region, according to the Post.

In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia although the two countries have found a common foe in Iran.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a US official familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

READ MORE:
LGBT Toronto Film Festival

Showcasing the best of short films and screenplays from the LGBT community. Screenplay Winner every single month performed by professional actors. Film Festival occurs 3 times a year!

Junior Economist

The Writer in The Scientific Teen / Youth Science Magazine

Lulu's Musings

Weaving together the threads of life

Odd Soul Traveler

Death to Comfort Zones

Southeast Asia travel

Don’t travel to work, work to travel!

Postcard Pretty

Travel guides and stories

staycation.wordpress.com

Santa Fe: Paradise in the Philippines

The Grey Traveller

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do. So throw off the bowlines,sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Orlando for Beginners

For UK visitors to Orlando

Annlyel Online

I. Love. MOVIES!

%d bloggers like this: