Saudi journalist Khashoggi killed at consulate, suggests audio with Turkish police

Marco Green
October 15, 2018

The White House is brushing aside threats by Saudi Arabia that it may economically retaliate for any US punitive action imposed over the suspected killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pledging a "swift, open, transparent investigation" into his disappearance.

Whatever the Saudi leadership intended with it Sunday statement, it broke with the kingdom's diplomatic orthodoxy: oil and politics are separate.

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account".

U.S. President Donald Trump said he spoke with Saudi Arabia's king about Jamal Khashoggi who has denied "any knowledge of whatever happened" to the missing journalist.

Trump has repeatedly blamed OPEC leader Saudi Arabia for propping up oil prices, which have translated to higher gasoline prices for USA consumers.

There are also fears companies will turn away from investing in the Kingdom.

Still, he cautioned that the countries may be exchanging idle threats and it would not be a politically prudent move for the Saudis to escalate tensions via oil supplies because it would inflict self-damage.

Brent oil was trading 80 cents higher on Monday at $81.25 per barrel, while U.S. benchmark WTI jumped 53 cents to $71.87. West Texas Intermediate, the USA marker, jumped to US$72.70 a barrel before trading at US$71.90.

Senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake, two Republican members of the foreign relations committee, said Congress was prepared to move quickly and firmly if Trump failed to adequately respond to the October 2 disappearance of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who had written columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia has angrily rejected any suggestion it was involved in interrogating Khashoggi, who had visited the consulate on a planned trip in relation to his forthcoming marriage.

The Saudi general sports authority has also signed a multi-year contract with all electric racing series Formula E, which will kick off its new season in Riyadh in December.

He also said Mnuchin should skip the Saudi conference. Trump said he had dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the region. He spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter.

Turkish officials claim that they have the audio and video which indicate that Khashoggi was brutally killed inside the consulate.

Earlier on Monday, Salman ordered an internal probe into Khashoggi's disappearance while a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the consulate.

Yet the fact that the Arabiya article was published only minutes after Saudi Arabia's press release was issued led many to conclude it was either a message conveyed outside diplomatic channels or a trial balloon that quickly went flat. The kingdom accounted for nearly 40 per cent of total Persian Gulf OPEC exports last month, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In America, Trump wants to tame prices before key midterm elections in November.

US President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is against cancelling the United States dollars 110 billion mega arms deal with Saudi Arabia as this will hurt America's economy and jobs. "This would be so destabilizing for global markets that it would make the current trade tensions between the US and China look like a game of Axis & Allies".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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