USA knew of Saudi plan to seize missing journalist, newspaper claims

Andrew Cummings
October 10, 2018

Saudi Arabia deployed a 15-man hit squad to lie in wait for dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, The New York Times said in an explosive story.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as more evidence emerged that crude exports from Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, are declining before the imposition of new USA sanctions and as a hurricane moved across the Gulf of Mexico.

Prince Mohammed, who has ties to Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has introduced some economic and social reforms, allowing women to drive and opening movie theaters in the deeply conservative Muslim nation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in India last month that they may consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers like India, but they must reduce their imports.

The kingdom has called the allegations "baseless", but has not provided any evidence that Khashoggi left the consulate and did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.


On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the United States "had no advance knowledge" of such a plan.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since a year ago fearing possible arrest.

The footage released on Wednesday shows Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate as well as images of black vans driving to the building.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg on Friday that Saudi Arabia "did (its) job and more" by making up for the recent drop in Iranian oil sales.

Saudi Arabia denies involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, and the Trump's administration's response has been far more cautious than that coming from Capitol Hill.


Riyadh and Ankara have also differed on the subject of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where Saudi Arabia has unofficially backed the so-called USA "deal of the century", whereas Turkey has condemned the Trump administration's attempt to "force a deal on the Palestinians".

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Lisbon that "we are 100 percent behind the American position".

Delhi is hopeful that Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will heed U.S. calls for production to be boosted by one million barrels per day, as promised in June, which might help bring benchmark prices down. "We have to see what happens".

Turkey's foreign minister said authorities would search the consulate in Istanbul as part of its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, saying Saudi officials were "open to cooperation", although it's unclear when the event would take place.

The surveillance image bore a date and time stamp, as well as a Turkish caption bearing Mr. Khashoggi's name and that he was arriving at the consulate. "It's a bad thing", Trump said.


Turkey's public broadcaster TRT World has obtained video footage which shows the Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2nd. Yet Jamal did not think the Saudis could force him to stay at the consulate in Turkey, even if they wanted to arrest him.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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