Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

U.S. increases pressure on Saudis over writer's disappearance

U.S. increases pressure on Saudis over writer's disappearance

And we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey, and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia.

On his first worldwide trip as president, Trump visited Saudi Arabia and announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales.

One former intelligence official speculated the mysterious 15-member team sent from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi's disappearance meant to conduct a "rendition" operation and spirit him back to Saudi territory, but something may have gone wrong and resulted in Khashoggi's death.

The video later shows some of the men leaving a hotel near the Saudi consulate and Khashoggi entering the consulate.

The pro-government daily Sabah splashed the pictures of 15 men, which it called an "assassination squad", providing also their names and years of birth.

President Donald Trump talked to "Fox & Friends" about the missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the possibility of Saudi Arabia's involvement, telling the show's hosts, "I don't like it at all". A spokesman for the State Department insisted the US government had "no advance warning" of Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on here".

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Republican Senator Rand Paul also said this week that he would attempt to force a vote in the Senate blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia, if the reports about Khashoggi's disappearance prove true. And we're probably getting closer than you might think.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country was anxious about Khashoggi's disappearance and can not remain silent, in comments quoted by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, said he's spoken "more than once" with the Saudis in recent days but didn't provide details of the conversation.

The move from Congress ratchets up pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a United States resident and critic of the kingdom who disappeared after entering the country's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

According to the Washington Post, senior Saudi officials had called Khashoggi in the months before his disappearance, offering him protection if he returned to the country.

National Security Adviser John Bolton and senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, talked with Salman Tuesday, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a follow-up call with the Saudi leader to reiterate the US demand for information about the case, the White House said.

Last week, the crown prince told Bloomberg News that his government was "very keen to know what happened to him", and that Mr Khashoggi had left "after a few minutes or one hour". Saudi Arabia denies knowing anything about his fate, saying that he left the building.

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The Trump administration sharply upped the pressure, reversing an initially low key response after Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished on Oct 2.

Reporters Without Borders also called for an "independent global investigation" to be conducted in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Earlier Thursday on "Fox & Friends", President Trump said US investigators are working with Turkish authorities and the Saudis to find Khashoggi.

A total of 25 to 30 professional and non-professional journalists are now believed to be detained in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, the organisation also said.

Around the time Khashoggi entered the consulate, a second private plane from Riyadh took off for Istanbul. "I don't want anybody else thinking that if they have an alliance with us we don't care about values".

She had been waiting outside the consulate when her Khashoggi went inside. Yet Jamal did not think the Saudis could force him to stay at the consulate in Turkey, even if they wanted to arrest him.

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