Turkey seeks arrest of Saudis for murder of Khashoggi

Marsha Scott
December 7, 2018

Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have tried to assert that there is no way of knowing whether or not Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) played a role in the journalist's brutal murder, but his party members have dissented following a classified Tuesday briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel.

The office of Istanbul's prosecutor on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for two Saudi officials for their alleged links to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Turkey.

Istanbul's chief prosecutor said there is a "strong suspicion" al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Asiri planned the horrific murder at the Saudi consulate on October 2.

During his visit, Penn is expected to meet with the Washington Post columnist's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

Erdogan has said that the order for Khashoggi's killing probably did not come from Saudi Arabian King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on the crown prince.

Pompeo and Mattis tried to dissuade senators from punishing Saudi Arabia with the resolution, saying USA involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Now senators who believe even more strongly that Mohammed helped coordinate Khashoggi's killing will explore legislative options to punish Saudi Arabia, including bills or amendments that could withdraw USA support of Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, impose additional sanctions, or end weapons sales to the country.

Breaking with President Donald Trump, U.S. senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on December 4 said they are even more convinced that Prince Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi's death.

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The resolution was introduced by a bipartisan group including Lindsey Graham (R), Dianne Feinstein (D), Marco Rubio (R), Ed Markey (D), Todd Young (R) and Chris Coons (D).

"It's not in our interests to give the crown prince. a pass for murder of an American resident with three American children", Graham said.

While Saudi Arabia has admitted that the murder was "premeditated", it has vehemently denied that the royal family had any knowledge or involvement. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was emphatic last week, telling reporters, "We have no smoking gun that the Crown Prince was involved". Some 14 million people face starvation, and recent studies estimate 85,000 children under five have starved to death.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker told Roll Call Tuesday afternoon that interested parties would be meeting on Wednesday to try to find an agreement on handling the contentious Yemen resolution.

However, several reports have suggested that the Saudi prince was involved in the murder.

US intelligence assessments and experts say it is unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.

Last week, 14 Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate and rarely break from the president, defied Trump's wishes and voted with Democrats in favour of moving ahead with the war powers resolution.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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