BRITISH Borders MP Threatens to Quit Over Proposed Brexit Deal Compromises

|Paris Gourtsoyannis, The Southern Reporter|AIWA! NO!|Borders MP David Mundell has threatened to resign over a European Union exit deal set to be signed off by the UK Government as soon as next week. The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have both issued a threat to quit over compromises to that Brexit deal over the Irish border ibeing proposed in a bid to get it agreed.

Ruth Davidson and David Mundell at last year's Royal Highland Show at Ingliston.
Ruth Davidson and David Mundell at last year’s Royal Highland Show at Ingliston.

UK prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet meets today, October 16, amid widespread disquiet among Conservatives and their allies in the Democratic Unionist Party about plans to keep Britain in the EU customs union and boost regulatory checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland. Downing Street has sought to calm speculation that the compromises will form the basis of a breakthrough on the UK’s Brexit withdrawal aMrs Maythe Prime Minister not to do a “dodgy deal” undermining Northern Ireland’s standing in the union.

A joint letter from Ms Davidson and Scottish Secretary Mr Mundell to Mrs May warns that the issue of special status in the EU single market for Northern Ireland would be a red line for both of them, it has emerged. Under existing treaties including the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland already has separate regulatory regimes shared with the Republic of Ireland over matters including electricity and animal health.

However, the EU says that under a commitment set to agreed by Mrs May to prevent a hard border being created on the island of Ireland, the north would have to effectively remain within the single market. Checks on goods travelling between the north and Britain would need to be enhanced, affecting all livestock and agricultural products, many of which come from Scotland.

“Having fought just four years ago to keep our country together, the integrity of our United Kingdom remains the single most important issue for us in these negotiations,” the letter from Ms Davidson and Mr Mundell states.

“Any deal that delivers a differentiated settlement for Northern Ireland beyond the differences that already exist on an all-Ireland basis – for example, agriculture – or can be brought under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, would undermine the integrity of our UK internal market and this United Kingdom. “We could not support any deal that creates a border of any kind in the Irish Sea and undermines the union or leads to Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK beyond what currently exists.”

As many as eight cabinet ministers are said to be considering their positions over plans to keep the UK in the customs union to ensure goods continue to be traded over the Irish land border whatever the future relationship between London and Brussels without a firm date for when that arrangement would end.

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Are Saudi’s and Turkey’s ‘inside agents,’ the downing of the Russian jet, and the Khashoggi case a plan to open new fronts in the region?

It is a multidimensional dark incident ranging from the U.S. to Europe, from Saudi’s internal power structure to the disintegration between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, from the redesign of the region to Saudi-Iran war scenarios, from the rapport between Qatar and Turkey, from the front planned to be opened in the Persian Gulf after the Syrian war to the U.S.-Israel-Egypt-Saudi Arabia-UAE axis.


|İbrahim Karagül|AIWA! NO!|None of Turkey’s issues are local. No issue, from the economy to security, from its internal power structure to regional and global developments, is a matter that starts and ends with Turkey. Those who get stuck up on certain developments and pursue revenge, those who are trying make personal gains through such incidents definitely have ulterior motives.

Everything from the pastor Andrew Brunson case to the Jamal Khashoggi issue, from the dollar attack to Manbij and the east of the Euphrates, from the multidimensional disputes between Turkey and the U.S. to the July 16, 2016 attack, from the tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to those on the inside of the country who are trying to create areas of opposition and intervention through these developments, are multidimensional, multifaceted, multi-equational and certainly not limited entirely to Turkey’s “weaknesses.”

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James Mattis and MbS at the Pentagon in March. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nobody should dare pursue the opportunity for ‘internal intervention’ in these incidents

A world in which no enmity or friendship is permanent is taking shape. A world in which no problem is local is shaping. Hence, nobody should speak conventionally. Every generalization will shortly contradict itself. There is no great country, great power left in the world. Every power can render bigger powers immobile, lock and detune it when it acts effectively.

While these realities are apparent, nobody should attempt “inside operations” and pursue political plans through cheap discourse, confuse the Turkish public’s mind and try to make them a target for new multinational interventions.

Khashoggi incident is not just a murder or abduction

The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one of these multinational packages. It is in no way limited to just a murder, abduction or disabling an oppositional figure. It is in no way limited to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It is in no way limited to the madness of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or the personal plans of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

It is a multidimensional dark incident ranging from the U.S. to Europe, from Saudi’s internal power structure to the disintegration between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, from the redesign of the region to Saudi-Iran war scenarios, from the rapport between Qatar and Turkey, from the front planned to be opened in the Persian Gulf after the Syrian war to the U.S.-Israel-Egypt-Saudi Arabia-UAE axis.

What will happen if the Khashoggi incident and the ‘dark scenarios’ behind it are not elucidated?

Thus, the Khashoggi murder must be elucidated at once. But the dark plans behind the incident must also be explained. What will happen if they are not explained? Preparations for a new intervention in Turkey will remain unexplained. Plans aimed at detaching Turkey and the Arab world will not be explained. The plans in the north of Syria, the nature of the Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi coup in Egypt will not have been explained. The kind of multinational project being planned after Syria, and how this project will spread shake the entire region will remain unforeseen.

Ankara and Riyadh should close Washington’s door to intervention

Turkey and Saudi Arabia must close all doors of the Khashoggi case calling on to international intervention and that aim to provoke both countries. The U.S.’s intervention in the case, sending its secretary of state, its “or we will punish you” discourse, the role of the Egyptian intelligence and the UAE in the incident are concerning and offer clues to the multinational intervention.

Every Western intervention is causing disputes, tensions, conflicts between countries of the region, and leading very grave regional problems. This has always been the case to date. No problem involving them could be solved; it remained in the dark and they applied other scenarios through this. Because they are the ones who largely set that game.

Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s ‘inside agents’ and the Russian jet issue

The countries of the region must particularly pay attention to their own internal structures, to those who take action in the multinational intervention front that is in question, and “inside agents.” Nowadays, this matter has become a greater urgency. A psychological operation, similar to the operation targeting public opinion that was started in Turkey as the Syria war was starting should not be allowed. Because we are direct witnesses of those multinational scenarios since the Gezi Park events, we know how they are done and this is why we should be in a state of alarm.

When we look at it in terms of Saudi Arabia, we see how the joint will of certain powerful circles with the U.S. and Israel is bringing disintegrations to both Saudi Arabia and the region, and how it is opening new areas of intervention. We also know how these circles especially work the “Fight Iran, be enemies with Turkey” theory, but that the scenario is actually directly aimed at destroying Saudi Arabia itself.

We saw that while the downing of the Russian jet was being promoted in Turkey as a “patriotic” act of defense, it was a scenario aimed at pitting Turkey and Russia against each other and finishing the job in Syria, to lead to the July 15 coup attempt, and leave Turkey isolated and defenseless.

The plan to pit Turkey and the Arab world against each other

A plan aimed at pitting Turkey and the Arab world against each other is being implemented. They are selling the “Ottoman fear” to work the “anti-Turkey sentiment” theory on Arab streets. This plan is a major destruction project aimed at our region.

New type Arab leader profiles are formed like Zayed and Salman, inciting them for this project. There is a desire to build a new wave of Arab nationalism and drag the Arab world into a war against Turkey and Iran.

These leaders have been pushed against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in every area on the field. They are openly supporting shocking scenarios, including terrorism and coups. But Turkey has seen that this is a big Western plan. It grasped that this is part of the Western invasion targeting both Turkey and the entire region. Thus, it is acting extremely carefully and is waiting for the Arab world to see it too.

Wake up, we are all in the same boat!

The invasion of Iraq, the Syrian war, Daesh, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) project, July 15 and this new “Arab wave” are a part of the big scenario, the map operation that is aimed at our region a century later. The fronts from a century ago are being established. Yet, contrary to popular belief, we are all in the same boat.

This project swallowed Iraq and Syria. Now it is targeting Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. If their conflict and confrontation plans between these three big countries succeed, the entire region will collapse. The map operation in the east of the Euphrates is part of this. A buffer zone, a wall is being built between Turkey and the Arab world. Saudi Arabia and Turkey must work together to negate this.

The Arab-Iran war must be prevented, the ‘Muslim civil war’ plan must be negated

However, there are those in both the Arab world and inside Turkey that have hidden agendas within this context. All overt and covert operations are known. It is associated with the new opposition and intervention operation in Turkey and the anti-Turkey Arab wave.

They were both planned and are being implemented as the sub-elements of the Western invasion, and the new region plans. There is no enmity among the people here. Certain groups are preparing the psychological infrastructure of pitting us against one another and setting up new games.

Walls should not be allowed to be built between Ankara, Riyadh and Tehran. This is not our fight but theirs. Let us not destroy our country for the war of others. Let us not fall into the traps of a century ago again.

They are making preparations for a ‘Muslim civil war.’ Very soon they are going to submerge the Persian Gulf in war for this purpose. They are going to implant the war in the heart of Islam. Right at this time, they want to render Turkey immobile.

The Russian jet and preparations before the Syria war are very important

Personally, I do not believe in any stance superior to that of Turkey and its regional struggle. For the last few years I have been watching the “inside operations” along the Saudi Arabia-Iran-Turkey axis. I tried to tell everyone, but was unsuccessful. They are being implemented through Mohammed bin Zayed, and the Riyadh administration was entrapped.

I ask myself whether there could be a new Russian jet scenario. This matter is critical. I remember the scenario at the start of the Syria war, which was played out on the field and took many hostages. In one of them, Turkey and Russia were going to be made to clash. In the other, Syria was destroyed. What we need to find out is who set up the game and how they are playing it

Saudi Arabia, President Trump & Turkey – Cooking Alternative Facts on Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder?

CRIMSON TAZVINZWA|AIWA!NO!|President Trump: “The King firmly denied involvement; it may as well have been some rogue elements.”

 Saudi officials arrive at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to investigate the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph: Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Trump’s remarks come as Turkish investigators finally get access to Saudi consulate.

Donald Trump has speculated that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the presumed death of Jamal Khashoggi, as Turkish investigators finally gained access to the Saudi consulate, 13 days after the missing Washington Post columnist was last seen there.

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CCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi Arabia has called accusations it ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its Istanbul consulate “lies and baseless allegations”.

Turkish officials were allowed into the consulate in Ankara only after Saudi staff, consular visitors and a team of cleaners equipped with mops, buckets and disinfectant had been allowed into the building.

The investigators arrived in unmarked black cars late on Monday, and made no comment to journalists outside the consulate. As night fell, a crime scene truck arrived, along with a police car with Ankara plates.

Every now and again, a bewildered Saudi citizen poked his or her head out of the wrought iron gate, before running the gauntlet of dozens of cameras.

SYRIA – ‘Would you like to come to Canada?’ What officials are doing for Canadians held in Syria over ISIS allegations

  • The political implications of repatriating Canadian ISIS fighters. 

  • Repatriating Canadian ISIS fighters, their wives, and children could be a political minefield for the Trudeau government. 

  • Expert says Canada should bring back wives, children of ISIS fighters

|GLOBAL VOICES|AIWA! NO!|“I’m from the government of Canada. Do you want assistance from us?”

“Yes,” Jack Letts replied.

“If so, what kind?”

“Please get me out of this place.”

With that, a Canadian consular official began an hour-long online exchange with Letts, a British 22-year-old with Canadian citizenship who is imprisoned by Kurdish forces in Syria.

READ MORE: ‘I just want to go back’: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out

A transcript of the conversation, which Global Affairs Canada sent to his parents, who then shared it with Global News along with other documents, offers a rare look at how Ottawa is handling such cases.

They show that Canadian consular officials have been trying to find out where the Canadians are being detained in order to give them consular assistance.

The officials have communicated with the Kurdish authorities over concerns about torture allegations and medical attention for the detainees, the documents show.

But they also told the parents in an email that while they would try to get Letts to a third country, likely Turkey, they could not make any promises.

Jack Letts, who is British but has Canadian citizenship through his father, is being held by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.
Jack Letts, who is British but has Canadian citizenship through his father, is being held by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.

Hundreds of ISIS foreign fighters, as well as ISIS wives and their children, have been captured by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The Canadian government has said little about how it is assisting at least 13 Canadian detainees, who are being held in prisons and camps in northeast Syria.

But the transcript of a January 10 conversation between Letts and Global Affairs Canada shows that while officials have reached out to some of the detainees, they have also cautioned there’s not be much they can do.

“If it would be possible, would you like to come to Canada? Back to the U.K.?” the consular official asked.

“I want to live a normal life. I want to come to Canada,” Letts replied.

A Muslim convert, Letts traveled to Syria in 2014, leading the British press to dub him Jihadi Jack. But while he was in ISIS-controlled territory, he has denied being an ISIS member and his parents said there was no evidence he ever joined the terrorist group. Because the U.K. has shown no interest in assisting him and he is Canadian through his father, Ottawa has taken on the case.

Jack Letts said he was imprisoned near Qamishli, the hub of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Jack Letts said he was imprisoned near Qamishli, the hub of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“Can u help me,” Letts wrote to the consular official.

He said he was imprisoned near Qamlishi, the hub of the Kurdish-controlled region of Syria known as Rojava. He said he had been there 10 months.

“We have limited capacity to provide consular service in Syria but we will try to help you,” the official responded.

The consular official asked Letts whether he had been charged, how he spent his days, what he ate, when he last saw a doctor, whether he was taking medications and had access to the Internet.

“Are they going to kill us,” Letts wanted to know.

“As I said, we have no access in Syria at the moment, but are working on your case.”

Letts asked the official if he intended to get him to Canada.

“I promise not to blow anyone up with fertaliser [sic] or however they do it,” Letts wrote, adding “that was a joke.”

WATCH: What should Ottawa do with hundreds of captured Canadian ISIS fighters?

“We have the intention to help you,” the official wrote.

“Obviously I’m not going to blow anyone up.”

“Canada is an option,” said the official.

Parents of Jack Letts, dubbed Jihadi Jack, John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey in London.
Parents of Jack Letts, dubbed Jihadi Jack, John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey in London.

Letts then said he was “going insane” and had tried to hang himself. He said he was experiencing kidney problems but had not seen a doctor in seven months.

“I made a mistake coming here, I know that. If you want to put me in prison, I understand that I do not mind,” Letts told the official.

“I have made mistakes, probably prison is good for me. But just not here. The situation here is terrible.”

“Tell my mum I am sorry. Tell my dad I am sorry. Tell them if I ever get out of this place I am going to try and be a better person.”

Towards the end of the exchange, the official assured Letts the government was working on his case, but within limits.

“We don’t have people in Syria and it is a complex environment so I can’t give you definitive timelines, but we are working on your case.”

READ MORE: Exclusive: Canadian member of Islamic State caught, but RCMP struggle to lay charges against ISIS fighters

Global News revealed last week that high-profile Canadian ISIS member Muhammad Ali had been captured by Kurdish forces. His wife, former Vancouver resident Rida Jabbar, and their two kids were also detained, along with women from Toronto and Montreal who married ISIS foreign fighters, and their five children.

Letts and a Montreal man are also being held.

A Kurdish official told Global News there had been “dialogue” with Canada over the detainees, including a meeting in Iraq, but that “suddenly the Canadian government stopped this process and we don’t know why.”

Asked to comment on the transcript, Global Affairs Canada said it was aware that Canadians were detained in Syria but its “ability to provide consular assistance in any part of Syria is extremely limited.”

Jack Letts, who is British but has Canadian citizenship through his father, is being held by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.
Jack Letts, who is British but has Canadian citizenship through his father, is being held by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.

In a podcast, national security law expert Craig Forcese said that because the Canadians were detained abroad, the government could not facilitate their return to Canada.

The best they could do was negotiate the conditions of their detention, he said, adding the matter was complicated because the Canadians were held by insurgents rather than a state.

But even engaging with their captors diplomatically could cause problems for Canada, he said. Turkey views the Kurdish forces as part of the PKK terrorist group. “So it’s a very difficult consular dance.”

Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole said the government’s primary focus should be public safety.

“I’m very, very reluctant to repatriate known ISIS fighters, unless they’re charged and imprisoned in conjunction with their return,” he said.

He also said he supported the revocation of citizenship for terrorism and treason.

“You know, unfortunately these people made very bad decisions and demonstrated that they were a risk to the public and that’s how they should be treated.”

WATCH: Mosul, Iraq is facing several challenges post-ISIS

READ MORE: ‘I’m going to die here’: Wives of ISIS fighters want to return home to Canada

But NDP public safety critic Matthew Dubé said that while public safety is paramount, Canada was obliged to take responsibility for its citizens.

“As much as we may loathe what these people stand for and what they’re doing in some cases, I think that putting them into prisons here and having them go through the Canadian justice system is obviously at the core of a society that’s rules-based and respects the rule of law,” he said.

“Again, it’s not to condone in any way these atrocities. Quite the contrary. I believe that if we truly believe that this is wrong then we should be making sure that they are seeing justice through the Canadian system.”

Dubé also said Ottawa should bring back Canadian wives of ISIS fighters and their children. “It doesn’t sound like that’s the case at the moment, but I would hope that they would make every effort to bring the women and children back.”

SAUDI ARABIA – Will Crown Prince bin Salman Survive Khashoggi’s Assassination?

The execution of Khashoggi on foreign soil reveals Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman’s disrespect for diplomatic rules and international laws. He can tide over the assassination if he is willing to pay a heavy price to aid Trump’s America and Erdogan’s Turkey.

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Acclaimed Saudi dissident and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Turkish officials have suspected his disappearance as premeditated murder. More recent developments clearly indicate he was killed inside the consulate by a 15-member Saudi hit squad, allegedly on orders by the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi’s killing has shocked the world, yet it was no surprise for people familiar with the Saudi medieval type religious kingdom. Saudi Arabia is known for its worrying intolerance for dissent, human rights, and democratic values.

The degree of intolerance discernibly increased after Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz’s favorite son, rose to the position of crown prince in June last year by forcing his cousin and previous Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef to make way for him.

Bin Salman, a young but highly ambitious crown prince, is, in fact, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. He holds a number of other powerful portfolios, including first deputy prime minister and Defense Minister. He is the chief architect of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, a highly vocal anti-Iran Saudi leader, and a close associate of U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

In just a year after he had assumed the office of crown prince, bin Salman launched a massive crackdown on corruption, allegedly to punish his critics, and detained dozens of royals, former ministers, and business leaders. Many of them are still languishing in jails.

The Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested from Abu Dhabi and whisked back to the kingdom in March this year. Outspoken critics of Saudi leadership, including royal family dissidents who were living in Europe, were kidnapped and tortured in the past. Prominent Saudi religious leaders who oppose royal family rule are also routinely rounded up and punished.

Khashoggi’s Murder

Khashoggi’s killing is an appalling case for a variety of reasons. This is a chilling message to all Saudi dissidents living in or outside the kingdom. Bin Salman will not tolerate anyone who dares to criticize him. The Saudi domestic opposition, known as al Sahwa, possibly senses a very bleak future and may be coerced into maintaining a low profile.

Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul
Protestors hold pictures of Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul six days after his disappearance. Photo: Ozan Kose, AFP

Foreign nationals critical of Saudi leadership may not be exempts either. Last year, two journalists from Turkish state broadcaster TRT World, who accompanied Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on a visit to the kingdom in the wake of the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar, were detained but freed only after Cavusoglu had directly raised the issue with King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz.

More alarmingly, Khashoggi’s murder exposes an ugly face of Mohammed bin Salman. The execution of a hit plan on foreign soil reveals his disrespect for diplomatic rules and international laws. This is a cool-headed murder, and the whole world is stunted! If Khashoggi were not a noted critic of bin Salman and well connected to a wide network of journalists, media moguls, and diplomats, his murder would not have made such a big issue around the globe.

Royal Family’s History of Force

The Saudi royal family’s love affair with killings, kidnappings, and brutal suppression of dissents speaks a lot about the way they captured power in the Arabian Peninsula and their ideological convictions. King Abd al-Azizfounded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 based on the sheer use of force – first, by defeating and killing his tribal rivals in the central Saudi province of Najd, then by permanently subduing the oil-rich Shia-dominated Eastern Province in 1913, and finally by conquering the Hijaz Province in 1926.


Saudi Arabia Faces Business Backlash Over Khashoggi…

The Saudi royals believe that they established their kingdom by sword and the kingdom is their family fiefdom to defend based on the sword. That means they suffer from a pervasive fear that they cannot survive without suppressing their domestic and external opponents, either single-handedly or in collaboration with foreign countries.

And the royal family’s ideological arm, what is called Wahhabism, is horrendously misused to clear of dissents and opposition. There is a historical lineage. Religious preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s texts and teachings directly relate to the 10th-century Sunni theological school of Ash’arism, the dominant Sunni school of thought known for its anti-science, anti-rational and anti-philosophical reasoning posture.

Historically, many Muslim rulers in the Middle East have used the anti-free thinking logic of Ash’arism to close the door to independent political ideas and reasoning as a serious source of challenge to their rule, what clearly meant the rulers could not be criticized at all, let alone be challenged. The Saudi Wahhabi religious establishment, an off-shoot of Ash’arism, often issues fatwas in support of suppression of dissents by the Saudi rulers.

What Awaits bin Salman Now?

The Khashoggi episode is likely to haunt the Saudi rulers for quite some time. The kingdom has got itself caught in a tainted image, in the face of international uproar and concerns. The image Saudi Arabia has created for it is the image of a killer state. Can Mohammed bin Salman smooth over this horrible incident?

Much depends on how he manages his relationship with President Trump and regional rival Turkey. The U.S. president has reacted to Khashoggi’s murder as a “bad situation.” More sharp reactions came from influential U.S. Senators who threatened sanctions at the “highest level” of Saudi leadership and halt arms sales to the kingdom. If the Senators succeed in pressuring Trump to take the Khashoggi case to the UN Security Councilto impose a travel ban on bin Salman or sanctions on Saudi Arabia, that will effectively end his ambition to ascend the throne after King Salman’s death. But this is unlikely to happen for at least two reasons.

President Trump is reluctant to cut economic ties with Saudi Arabia, to stop Saudi investments in the U.S. economy. Rather, he is eager to see that the much-publicized arms deals, worth $110 billion, go through at an accelerated pace. Bin Salman did not seriously commit to the arms deals so far. Khashoggi’s murder has, by default, created a unique opportunity for Trump to pressure bin Salman to buy weapons quickly or face the consequences. Trump is also likely to force bin Salman to further drum up anti-Iran propaganda and take concrete actions against Iran.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stands to gain a lot too. He increased pressure on Saudi rulers by saying Ankara “cannot remain silent to such an incident,” but later agreed to launch a joint Saudi-Turkish committee to probe Khashoggi’s disappearance. Human rights group Amnesty International has cast doubt on the committee’s neutrality to issue a genuine report on the investigation.



Fears of “abysmal new low” for Saudi Arabia amid allegations journalist Jamal Khashoggi assassinated in Istanbul Consulate 

Bin Salman is likely to use the joint committee as a vehicle to delay reporting or buy Turkey’s support through secret negotiations to bury the Khashoggi episode.

President Erdogan is likely to exploit it as a big opportunity to get bin Salman to commit billions of dollars fresh investments in the Turkish economy, giving him some wiggle room to get around recent U.S. sanctions – the attack on Turkish lira. Another side of the bargain may include a negotiated end to the Saudi-led blockade on Turkey’s steadfast Gulf ally Qatar.

Mohammed bin Salman is likely to tide over Khashoggi’s assassination if he is willing to pay a heavy price to aid Trump’s America and Erdogan’s Turkey. That will at least save him from losing the throne.

If developments take a different course to justice, there will be a huge relief that even powerful autocrats cannot cross the red lines.

Turkish Government says they have audio, video of Jamal Khashoggi interrogation

Reporting by Andres Triay, Andrew Bast and Pat Milton|GRACE SEGERS, CBS NEWS|AIWA! NO!|A former high level U.S. intelligence official tells CBS News that the Turkish government has told the U.S. that they have audio and video tapes of the interrogation of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggiinside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which Turkey believes involved Khashoggi’s murder.

The Saudi government is denying that Khashoggi was tortured and killed inside the consulate, which Turkey contends occurred with the knowledge of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi had been critical of the prince.

Turkey claims that these audio and video tapes offer proof that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered by Saudi agents. U.S. sources tell CBS News that this plan appears to have been a rendition gone bad, and that the Saudis were initially intending to take Khashoggi into custody and bring him to Saudi Arabia.

The Senate has asked President Trump to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Magnitsky Act, which allows the president decide whether to sanction any persons involved.

In a radio interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt on Friday, National Security Adviser John Bolton said that he and White House adviser Jared Kushner had spoken to the crown prince. According to Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken to bin Salman as well. “It is something we need to get resolved,” Bolton said. “And we need to do it as soon as possible.”

The president has indicated in recent that he does not want to cease weapons deals with Saudi Arabia, which is a major recipient of U.S. weapons sales.

Theresa May tells angry Tory MPs: “I will not trap UK in permanent customs union with EU after Brexit”

Theresa May has sought to reassure worried Tory MPs by insisting that the UK will not be permanently “trapped” in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

EU and UK flags
Theresa May is fighting a major rebellion in the Tory ranks over Brexit.Credit: 
PA Image
|Kevin Schofield,PoiliticsHome|AIWA! NO!|The Prime Minister is facing the threat of Cabinet resignations over fears that a “backstop” arrangement aimed at avoiding a hard Irish border will effectively keep the UK locked into the bloc’s trading regime forever.

Senior ministers, including Dominic Raab and Michael Gove, expressed their concerns directly to Mrs May at a mini-Cabinet meeting on Thursday evening.

Tory minister warns on Brexit customs backstop end date

Theresa May: My backstop Brexit proposal is ‘unpalatable’

Theresa May facing threat of Cabinet resignations over Brexit customs plan

It is also understood that Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey are considering their positions on the frontbench over the row.

In an attempt to calm tensions in the Conservative ranks, a Downing Street spokeswoman insisted any backstop deal would be “temporary”.

However, she stopped short of saying that any agreement will continue a specific date for when it will come to an end.

She said: “When we published our plans in June for a UK-wide customs backstop, we were absolutely clear that the arrangement would be temporary and only in place until our future economic relationship was ready. Our position is that this future economic relationship needs to be in place by the end of December 2021 at the latest.

“The Prime Minister would never agree to a deal that would trap the UK in a backstop permanently.”


Meanwhile, Philip Hammond has risked a fresh Cabinet row by suggestion that a backstop arrangement is inevitable, despite Downing Street insisting it remains unlikely.

Speaking to Bloomberg, he said: “We are not going to remain in anything indefinitely, we are very clear this has to be a temporary period. But it is true that there needs to be a period probably following the transition period that we’ve negotiated before we enter into our long-term partnership, just because of the time it will take to implement the systems required.

“It is very important to us that business doesn’t have to make two sets of changes. That there will effectively be continuity from the current set up through the transition period into any temporary period and then a single set of changes when we move into our long-term new economic partnership with the European Union.”

Theresa May has sought to reassure worried Tory MPs by insisting that the UK will not be permanently “trapped” in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.