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Trump, Saudis Escalate Threats
Rancor over fate of dissident journalist is testing president’s Middle East policy
WASHINGTON—The White House and Saudi Arabia traded sharp words over the suspected killing of a dissident Saudi journalist as the case tests the Trump administration efforts to make the kingdom the linchpin of its Middle East policy.
On Sunday, Riyadh vowed to retaliate against any punitive measures from Washington and delivered a pointed reminder that the world’s top oil exporter “plays an impactful and active role in the global economy.”
The comments came after Mr. Trump pledged to impose “severe punishment” on Riyadh if an investigation implicates the kingdom in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
What We Know About the Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Turkish officials say a team of alleged Saudi assassins apprehended and likely killed a Saudi journalist in Istanbul. The Saudis have denied any involvement but Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct.2. Photo: Getty Images
Mr. Trump has put Saudi Arabia and its crown prince at the center of a Middle East policy aimed at challenging Iran, which is Riyadh’s main rival in the region, trying to broker an end to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis and countering extremism. Mr. Trump chose Saudi Arabia as the site of his first overseas presidential trip.
Now relations are under scrutiny, and ties between Washington and Turkey, a regional competitor to the Saudis, could be improving. Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the U.S. is now on track to have “a terrific relationship with Turkey” after it agreed to free an American pastor, Andrew Brunson. While hosting the North Carolina pastor at the White House on Saturday, Mr. Trump repeatedly thanked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The case of Mr. Khashoggi is forcing the Trump administration to recalibrate on a number of issues, from business ties and military aid to sanctions.
Saudi Arabia has been implicated by Turkish officials in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, and has denied he is in custody. Turkey says it has audio and video recordings purporting to show that Mr. Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.
While the U.S. has been cautious not to make any public statements about the fate of Mr. Khashoggi while an investigation is under way, Mr. Trump said on Saturday that it is “not looking too good.” In an interview with “60 Minutes,” portions of which were broadcast Saturday, Mr. Trump said he would be “very upset and angry” if the allegations against Saudi Arabia concerning Mr. Khashoggi prove true, and vowed there would be consequences.
I heard today on the news that Saudi Arabia is now saying they will cut oil to the US. Guess what? We have enough of our own right here.
Report: Saudis to Admit Killing Reporter in Interrogation That Went Bad
Saudi Arabia is believed to be preparing a report admitting that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong.
Citing two unnamed sources, CNN reported Monday that those involved in detaining Khashoggi intended to take him from Turkey.
“One source says the report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and transparency and that those involved will be held responsible,” according to CNN.
President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday, “I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of what took place with regard to, as he said, his Saudi Arabian citizen.”
Trump added, “I’ve asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immediately get on a plane, go to Saudi Arabia. Go to other places if necessary, which he probably will.”
The Associated Press reported that Turkish crime scene investigators entered the consulate on Monday.
“The search represents new cooperation between Turkey, which says it fears Khashoggi was killed and dismembered there, and Saudi Arabia, which maintains the allegations it faces are ‘baseless’ despite being unable to explain what happened to Khashoggi,” according to the AP.
Fist-fight gone bad: Admission of Khashoggi’s death escalates anger, but Tucker has message for tv ‘head-nodders’
Following a vague claim Friday by Saudi Arabia that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after an alleged fist fight inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, both congressional Democrats and the media accused the Saudis of lying and began harping on the Trump administration to take action.
Speaking on Fox News that evening, host Tucker Carlson wondered why these same left-wingers had never shown any concern about the others who’ve been murdered by the Middle Eastern regime.
“The head nodders on TV are stunned by the gnaws and hardly believe a bloodthirsty medieval theocracy would do this. Really? The Saudis? The same people that cut off the hands of thieves and behead adulters in public parks?” he said.
I agree with Tucker. I kinda don't care about this much. He was Muslim Brotherhood.