Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Netanyahu shows support for Saudi officials over White House phone call

The late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. /FILE The late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. /FILE
Patty Aguilar | 04 November, 2018, 04:01

Meanwhile, reports quote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as telling the United States he considered murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be a risky Islamist.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi a horrendous act that "should be duly dealt with" in a way that doesn't undermine Saudi Arabia's stability.

Turkey's chief prosecutor confirmed for the first time this week that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate, as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.

"The killing of Khashoggi has proven to be a golden opportunity for President Erdogan to pressure Saudi Arabia and work towards presenting Turkey as the new leader of the Muslim world", said Lina Khatib, director of Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.

His body has not been found and an aide to President Erdogan, Yasin Aktay, has said he believes it was dissolved in acid after being cut up.

Khashoggi's friends and family say they want even just a piece of his body so they can carry out his wish to be buried in the city of Medina, Islam's second holiest site.

Rather than weighing Prince Mohammed's chances of retaining power, officials in the White House and around the region have turned instead to the question of what effect the lingering stigma of the killing may have on the grand plans laid out by the 33-year-old prince, who could rule Saudi Arabia for the next half century.

"While the Kingdom is restrictive and controversial in various and serious respects, it has under the Crown Prince begun to undergo reform and professed the desire to change in profound ways", the statement said.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, in a call with US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor John Bolton, described the journalist as a "dangerous Islamist".

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Bitar noted that the U.S. administration relies on Prince Mohammed's support for any possible peace plan for the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well as containing Iran, long a Saudi foe.

It has arrested 18 suspects, who, it says, will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi disappeared October 2 after visiting the consulate in Istanbul to get documents he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.

His remains have not been located, and there has been no confirmation on, who ordered the killing. His invitation for Turkish investigators to Saudi Arabia for more talks about the case felt like a desperate and deliberate stalling tactic.

While calling for an impartial investigation into the killing of Khashoggi, the speaker of parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye appealed to the United Nations and other worldwide agencies to take charge.

"It is now up to the worldwide community to bring the perpetrators to justice".

Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, but both nations have strong links with the United States - and all three countries share a common enemy in Iran. But the Trump administration has taken a position that is devoid of moral foundation.

The kingdom has faced a torrent of worldwide condemnation over the murder of Khashoggi, upending the young crown prince's image as a reformer on the global stage.

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