World pours scorn on Saudi claim that Jamal Khashoggi died in brawl
- Author: Leroy Wright Oct 21, 2018,
Oct 21, 2018, 17:11
"It took an intense global outcry sustained for two weeks to acknowledge the obvious - that Khashoggi is dead, that he was killed in the Saudi consulate", said Kristin Diwan of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
"It's hard to find this latest "explanation" as credible", said Linsdey Graham, a Republican Senator close to President Trump.
How are nations responding to the Saudi account?
Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of American weaponry in the world, and it inked a $110 billion weapons deal with the Trump administration in 2017.
"Just to be clear Congressman, we don't have, I just want to be clear for our viewers, we do not have that reporting.
But there are other things which could be done, including sanctions", Trump noted.
Earlier this week, the Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak, citing what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi's slaying, said a Saudi assassination squad seized the journalist after he entered the consulate, cutting off his fingers and later decapitating him. "This will not do".
"As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a awful act and those responsible must be held to account".
Asked whether he thought the Saudi explanation was credible, he replied: 'I do.
He added: "To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashogi is an understatement". The United Arab Emirates welcomed the moves.
Saudi media on Sunday echoed this.
The kingdom also sacked deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud al-Qahtani, both top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has faced mounting pressure over the Khashoggi affair.
The comment was one of many critical reactions to Saudi Arabia's announcement of the writer's violent death, indicating the kingdom's efforts to defuse a scandal that has gripped the world were falling short.
Where is the investigation now?
But Trump again emphasised Riyadh's role in countering regional rival Iran and the importance that lucrative US arms sales to Saudi Arabia have for American jobs.Khashoggi, a USA resident, went missing after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. And you'd have to come up with an explanation for what happened to Khashoggi's body.
As for the two senior officials who lost their jobs on Saturday, Mouline said they were used as "scapegoats" to appease the growing calls for answers concerning the journalist's death.
Police have been searching the consulate, the consul's residence, as well as a nearby forest, where officials believe his body may have been disposed of.
The Saudi account has changed a number of times.
The Saudis initially dismissed the claims as baseless but failed to provide and explanation for what actually happened on the day. Turkish officials say Khashoggi was assassinated and dismembered by Saudi security forces. His body was then rolled in a rug and given to a local "co-operator" to dispose of.
Endeavor Content is considering withdrawing from a $400 million Saudi investment in the company, following the disappearance of Khashoggi. "We'll have very much Congress involved in determining what to do", he said.