US President Donald Trump promises he will crack down on Saudi Arabia if research shows that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He said that in an interview with the station CBS.
In the interview Trump says that the US is looking at the case thoroughly. The president also adds that his government would be “very affected and angry” if it appears that the Saudis have committed the murder. “At the moment they are denying very hard. Could they have done it? Yes,” says Trump clearly. “They continue to deny in all directions, but in the not so distant future we will get the answer.”
The case puts the United States in a difficult position, because of its close relationship with Saudi Arabia. The country is an important strategic ally for the US in the Middle East. Both the president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have also established business relations with Saudis.
Trump also indicates in the interview that he does not want to risk the arms deal of $ 110 billion with Saudi Arabia. “I do not want to lose jobs. But there are other ways to ‘punish’, to use a hard word now,” says the president. “Much is at stake and perhaps mainly because this man was a journalist. It is – and you will be surprised to hear me say this – but it would be terrible and degoutant if the journalist was indeed murdered. We will see, we’re going to dig this to the ground and severe penalties will follow.”
Audio and video proofs
Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post. On 2 October he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork that he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. Since then, every trace is missing from him.
According to sources, the Turkish authorities have audio and video files that prove that the journalist was murdered in the consulate. The Turkish authorities suspect 15 men, who arrived in Istanbul on October 2, of having something to do with the disappearance and possible murder of the journalist. Some of them would have connections with the Saudi government.
According to an American source, the US would also have intercepted messages in which Saudis discuss a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and then arrest him.
Saudi Arabia denies in any way that it has anything to do with the disappearance of Khashoggi. According to the authorities, the man left the consulate that same afternoon. His fiancée, who was waiting for him at the consulate, says that he never came back outside. Turkey has already asked the Saudis to provide evidence that the man has indeed left the building.