The United States President, Donald Trump is facing increasing pressure to take tougher measures against Saudi Arabia before the expected release of an official report into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Trump told reporters on Saturday that a detailed report, including information about who was responsible for last month’s murder of the Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, would be released “probably on Monday or Tuesday”.
President Donald Trump faces increasing pressure to take tougher measures against Saudi Arabia over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump says that Saudi Arabia is a “spectacular ally” and that he’s not convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, was directly responsible for the Oct. 2 slaying of the editorial columnist for The Washington Post inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
But there are increasing calls for more action amid a growing consensus that the crown prince, who controls virtually all major levers of power in Saudi Arabia, must have known about the operation.
The pressure is coming from Democrats and Republicans in Congress and U.S. allies
According to US media reports, the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
Trump has called the reports “premature” saying he’s not convinced that Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, was directly responsible for the October 2 slaying of the writer.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has rejected the media reports,saying “such allegations about the crown prince have no basis in truth”.
But there are increasing calls, both from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, for more action amid a growing consensus that MBS must have known about the operation.
France’s top diplomat said Monday that his country was mulling sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Germany on Monday announced that it has banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because of their suspected connections to the killing. German officials, who earlier banned new weapons exports to Riyadh, also said they are halting previously approved arms exports.
Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat insists that the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death, but U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that he ordered the killing, according to a U.S. official familiar with the assessment. Others familiar with the case caution that while it’s likely that the crown prince had a role in the death, there continue to be questions about the degree to which he was involved.
“Donald Trump just says, ‘Will anybody really know?’ as if our intelligence agencies are incapable of making an assessment,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said on Monday.
He urged CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats to “come out and provide the American people and the Congress with a public assessment of who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi”.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hana, reporting from Washington, said the fact that the CIA assessment was “reported in so many outlets at the same time indicates that this could have been some kind of a coordinated leak”.
“Some observers say that the CIA is bringing pressure to bear on the president to make the report public,” he said.
Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that Trump on Tuesday would review information about Khashoggi’s death and then make his decisions about the United States’ “enormously important strategic relationship” with Saudi Arabia, which is aligned with the United States in pushing back against Iran.
The president leaves Tuesday to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The following week, the president and the crown prince will attend the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires. Saudi media reported Monday that the crown prince will be present, bringing him face-to-face with Trump and leaders from Turkey, Canada and Europe, among others.