Saudi King Salman silent on Khashoggi in annual Shura address


King Salman presents Saudi policies amid renewed calls from US Congress for condemnation over Khashoggi’s murder.

MORE ON SAUDI ARABIA

By Crimson Tazvinzwa, AIWA! NO!|Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has addressed the kingdom’s Shura Council but refrained from mentioning the case of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a televised address to the council on Monday, the king lauded his country’s judiciary and public prosecution for “carrying out their duty in the service of justice”, without directly invoking the killing of Khashoggi.

Last week, Saudi prosecutors had announced they would push for the death penalty for five suspects in connection with the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2. 

In the highly anticipated speech, the king reiterated his support for the United Nations’ efforts to end the war in Yemen and said that the Palestinian issue was a “top priority for the kingdom”. He also said that Riyadh supported a political solution in Syria, ensuring the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

‘Standing by son’

Commenting on the address, Marwan Kaballan, director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera that the king appeared to indirectly mention the Khashoggi case in his speech.

“He was trying to bring back the Saudi foreign policies to where it was traditionally; reiterating the traditional Saudi policy on Palestine. He talked about Yemen, saying that Saudi Arabia is seeking a political solution to the Yemen conflict… He talked about Syria and the Syrian refugees. He talked about his country’s role in maintaining stability in the oil market,” Kaballan said.READ MORE

Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

“At the end of his speech, it was really indicative when he talked about the judicial system of Saudi Arabia. It seemed like an indirect reference to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

“I think he wants the whole world to know that he is standing by his son [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman]. That was clear in two aspects; the economic one, when he talked about the private sector and somehow was referring to the 2030 vision of the crown prince, and when he ended his speech by talking about his trust in the judicial system of Saudi Arabia,” Kaballan added.

International pressure

The speech came shortly after Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced that Berlin has banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because of their alleged connection to Khashoggi’s killing.

Maas told reporters in Brussels on Monday that Germany issued the ban for the 26-nation zone in close coordination with France, which is part of the Schengen area, and Britain, which is not.

He said, “As before, there are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it.”

The German measure preceded renewed calls by the US Congress to the administration of US President Donald Trump to condemn the kingdom following a reported assessment by the CIA that the crown prince personally ordered the murder of Khashoggi.READ MORE

Trump says ‘full report’ on Khashoggi murder in two days

“It is certainly testing the position that the enemy of our enemy is our friend,” said Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, and a frequent critic of Trump.

“The president needs to listen to what our intelligence community has to say.”

But Trump has refused to listen to the audio tapes of the murder because the content is too graphic.

“It’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it…,” he told “Fox News Sunday”.

Trump, who considers Saudis vital allies in his Middle East policy, has been buying time on the issue as more evidence piles up in the case.

Crown prince a ‘destructive force’

Meanwhile, divisions at the top of the US Republican party are deepening over the murder of the Saudi journalist.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, called the Saudi crown prince “unhinged” in an interview with NBC News on Sunday.

“They are an important ally, but when it comes to the crown prince, he is irrational, he is unhinged, and I think he has done a lot of damage to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and I have no intention of working with him ever again,” Graham said on Sunday’s “Meet The Press”.

“I am going to do whatever I can to place blame where I believe it lies: I am going to put it at the feet of the crown prince who has been a destructive force in the Mideast [Middle East].

“If he is going to be the face of Saudi Arabia going forward, I think the kingdom will have a hard time on the world stage.”

While the US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, others in Congress are pushing for much tougher punishment.

“… We need to punish who ordered this. Who’s in charge and really the only thing they understand over there is strength,” said Republican Senator Rand Paul.

“I think they will see sanctions as weakness on the part of the president, and if the president wants to act strongly he should cut off the arms sale,” he told CBS’s “Face The Nation” show.

US PRESIDENT Trump downplays ‘very premature’ report on CIA assessment of Khashoggi killing

CIA: Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Ordered The Murder Of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The US State Department said it has not reached a final conclusion over the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, just one day after reports said the CIA blamed the powerful crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman.
"Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Trump admin downplays CIA conclusion MbS ordered Khashoggi hit


“Most of these people [being sanctioned] are in prison, other than the crown prince,” Paul continued. “We need to punish who ordered this, who’s in charge. … If the president wants to act strongly, he should cut off the arm sales” over Khashoggi and because of civilian deaths in the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen’s civil war.
President Trump continues to express skepticism that MBS is implicated in Khashoggi’s death, and he suggested in an interview airing on Fox Sunday he might keep a close alliance with the Saudi prince even if he is guilty of the journalist’s murder. He has repeatedly resisted calls to end weapons deals with Riyadh, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high.

THE WEEK

The New Arab & agencies
Trump admin downplays CIA conclusion MbS ordered Khashoggi hit
US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert [Getty]

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|President Trump on Saturday downplayed Friday's report that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


“They haven’t assessed anything yet. It’s too early. That was a very premature report,” Trump told reporters. “We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” he said, adding that it will include “who did it.”

THE WEEK

The president also praised Saudi Arabia as “a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development.” He has repeatedly resisted calls to end U.S. arms sales to Riyadh over Khashoggi’s death and the Saudi military interventionin Yemen’s civil war, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high. Bonnie KristianSUNDAY SHOWSRand Paul says ‘the evidence is overwhelming’ the Saudi crown prince is involved in Khashoggi’s murder

“I think the evidence is overwhelming” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Face the Nation Sunday. “I don’t think we can sweep this under the rug.”

Paul reiterated his push to end U.S. arms sales to the Saudi government in retaliation for Khashoggi’s killing, decrying the administration’s plan to sanction other parties involved. “I think sanctions are pretending to do something without really doing anything,” the senator said.

“Most of these people [being sanctioned] are in prison, other than the crown prince,” Paul continued. “We need to punish who ordered this, who’s in charge. … If the president wants to act strongly, he should cut off the arm sales” over Khashoggi and because of civilian deaths in the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

President Trump continues to express skepticism that MBS is implicated in Khashoggi’s death, and he suggested in an interview airing on Fox Sunday he might keep a close alliance with the Saudi prince even if he is guilty of the journalist’s murder. He has repeatedly resisted calls to end weapons deals with Riyadh, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high.

Watch Paul’s comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

Embedded video

.@RandPaul tells @margbrennan he “thinks the evidence is overwhelming that the Crown Prince was involved” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

SAUDI ARABIA Seeks Death Penalty For ‘Hit Squad’ Charged With Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder; Chief Prosecutor

Death penalty sought for men charged with killing journalist, Jamal Khashoggi

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!| Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor said today he would seek the death penalty for five men charged with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, while the United States moved to sanction 17 Saudi officials it said were involved in the slaying.

The Saudi announcement appeared aimed at distancing the killers and their operation from the kingdom’s leadership, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, amid a global outcry over the writer’s death.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death.

The US Treasury Department, meanwhile, announced it was imposing sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said were responsible for or complicit in the killing. Among those targeted for sanctions are Saud al-Qahtani, who was one of the crown prince’s closest aides, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, the diplomat in charge of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed Oct. 2.

Also named is Maher Mutreb, who was part of the crown prince’s entourage on trips abroad.

With the kingdom facing mounting international pressure, prosecutors have pointed the finger at some members of the crown prince’s inner circle but stopped short of accusing them of ordering Khashoggi’s killing.

Those closest to the prince are instead accused of ordering Khashoggi’s forced return in an operation that the Saudis allege went awry.

In a news conference, Sheikh Shalan al-Shalan, the deputy attorney general, said the killing was ordered by an individual whom he did not identify but said was responsible for negotiating Khashoggi’s return back to Saudi Arabia from Istanbul.

The individual was part of a 15-man team that was made up of negotiators, intelligence officers and logistics officials. 

Eleven charged with murder of Jamal Khashoggi, five facing death penaltyPlay Video00:17Prosecutors say he was tied up and injected with a lethal overdose, before being dismembered. Source: Breakfas

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor said today he would seek the death penalty for five men charged with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, while the United States moved to sanction 17 Saudi officials it said were involved in the slaying.

The Saudi announcement appeared aimed at distancing the killers and their operation from the kingdom’s leadership, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, amid a global outcry over the writer’s death.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death.

The US Treasury Department, meanwhile, announced it was imposing sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said were responsible for or complicit in the killing. Among those targeted for sanctions are Saud al-Qahtani, who was one of the crown prince’s closest aides, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, the diplomat in charge of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed Oct. 2.

Also named is Maher Mutreb, who was part of the crown prince’s entourage on trips abroad.

With the kingdom facing mounting international pressure, prosecutors have pointed the finger at some members of the crown prince’s inner circle but stopped short of accusing them of ordering Khashoggi’s killing.

Those closest to the prince are instead accused of ordering Khashoggi’s forced return in an operation that the Saudis allege went awry.

In a news conference, Sheikh Shalan al-Shalan, the deputy attorney general, said the killing was ordered by an individual whom he did not identify but said was responsible for negotiating Khashoggi’s return back to Saudi Arabia from Istanbul.

The individual was part of a 15-man team that was made up of negotiators, intelligence officers and logistics officials.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S 2020 Election Campaign Adviser Humiliated Live On TV By Aljazeera’s Mehdi Hasan Over Incessant ‘LIES’


VIRAL VIDEO SHOWS TV HOST TAKE DOWN FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER OVER ADMINISTRATION ‘LIES’

|ROGER COLE, NEWSWEEK|AIWA! NO!|An adviser to Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign has admitted the president’s claim the U.S. is the only country with birthright citizenship was “false,” but said this did not mean it was a lie.

The comments came in a tense exchange between Al Jazeera presenter Mehdi Hasan and Steven Rogers in a clip that has been widely shared on social media.

During the wide-ranging interview, the pair clashed over Trump’s role in the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his views on the caravan of migrants coming from Central America.

Hasan also asked Rogers whether Trump was right when he said the U.S. is the only country where someone can come in from overseas, give birth, and then that baby is a citizen.

Rogers described that as a “misstatement” and “false” but said “that doesn’t mean it’s a lie.”

Embedded video

Hey US media folks, here, I would argue immodestly, is how you interview a Trump supporter on Trump’s lies:

Rogers also backed Trump’s claims that there were riots in California against illegal immigration in so-called sanctuary cities, to which Hasan cited the state’s police chiefs association’s statement that this did not happen.

Hasan asked Rogers on the programme UpFront why Trump made the midterm campaign claim that there were six to seven steel facilities are going to be opened up, although none have been announced by U.S. Steel.

Rogers said: “Look, I don’t know of what context these statements were made but I can tell you this, the president of the United States has been very responsive to the American people and the American people are doing well.”

GettyImages-1060208762

U.S. President Donald Trump at  the American Cemetery of Suresnes, outside Paris, on November 11, 2018 as part of Veterans Day. His adviser for the 2020 election Steven Rogers was questioned by Al Jazeera over alleged lies told by the president.CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Hasan countered by saying: “The American people can be doing well and the president can be a liar, there’s no contradiction between those two statements.”

Rogers responded with: “I am not going to say the president of the United States is a liar.” Hasan had started the exchange by saying: “The president lies daily, multiple times.”

BRITISH FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt Visits Saudi Arabia For Talks With King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Over The Murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Yemen Crisis

Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression,” Mr Hunt said on Twitter. “If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously — friendships depend on shared values; British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Turkish officials accuse Saudi Arabia of murdering Khashoggi, 59,…

© AFP/File | Jeremy Hunt’s visit comes amid an international diplomatic crisis over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

LONDON (AFP)|AIWA! NO!|-British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday where he will press King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

During a trip to the region that includes a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Hunt will also seek to build support for UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, the Foreign Office said.

His visit comes amid an international diplomatic crisis over the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, a US resident, at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October.Jamal Khashoggi was reported missing last week

“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago,” said Hunt, who will also meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.

“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”

READ MORE: Macron marks WWI armistice, while trying to win back French voters

During his brief visit to the Gulf, Hunt will also meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani.

Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen. Continue reading BRITISH FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt Visits Saudi Arabia For Talks With King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Over The Murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Yemen Crisis

Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s sons express faith in King Salman

Khashoggi’s sons express faith in King Salman. Salah and Abdullah said that all they want now is to bury their father in Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah with the rest of his family, pointing out that they had talked about that with the Saudi authorities and hoped that it would happen soon.

Salah Khashoggi, 35, and his sibling Abdullah, 33, spoke to CNN

|AIWA! NO!|The sons of the deceased Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi expressed their faith in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and the prosecution of everybody involved in the case.

Salah Khasoggi, 35, and his sibling Abdullah, 33, spoke to CNN in a first sit-down interview since the death of their father a month ago.

“The king has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice and we have faith that will happen. Otherwise Saudi Arabia would not have started an internal investigation,” Salah Khashoggi told CNN.

Salah said his handshake with the Crown Prince shortly before he left the Kingdom was widely misinterpreted.

“I mean there was nothing, they were just over analyzing the whole situation,” Salah said. “I understand why they’re trying to do that. They are trying to get as much information as they can out of anything, which is something that we are also doing. Sometimes they are just baseless claims; sometimes they just do not make any sense. We are waiting for the investigation to be over.”

Salah and Abdullah said that all they want now is to bury their father in Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah with the rest of his family, pointing out that they had talked about that with the Saudi authorities and hoped that it would happen soon.

Salah and Abdullah said their father has been misunderstood and intentionally misrepresented for political reasons.

“Jamal was a moderate person. Everybody liked him. He was an “amazing” father. I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with.”

“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.” Salah said.

Salah said he relies on news reports for updates about the investigation into his father’s death.

“Our source is the same source that you have. It is a mystery. This is putting a lot of burden on us — all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. They think that we have answers, and unfortunately we don’t,” Salah said.

Abdullah Khashoggi, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, said he was the last of the family to see his father. He met him in Turkey and spent some time with him, adding that his father was planning to leave Washington area and move to Turkey to stay close to his children and grandchildren.

That he will return to Saudi Arabia soon to his banking in the city of Jeddah.

Salah said he would go back to his banking job in Jeddah very soon

Saudi Arabia Sent 11-Member ‘Cover-Up Team’ To Dispose Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Body: Report

11-Member Saudi ‘Cover-Up Team’ Ordered To Dispose Jamal Khashoggi’s Body: Report

AIWA! NO!According to a report in Sabah daily, Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member “cover-up team” to Istanbul on October 11, nine days after Khashoggi vanished after entering the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

Saudi Arabia Sent 11-Member 'Cover-Up Team' To Dispose Off Jamal Khashoggi's Body: Report
A man wears a mask of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a protest outside of Saudi Arabia’s Embassy about the now confirmed killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Washington.
AP Photo

A chemist and a toxicology expert were deployed by Saudi Arabia to Istanbul in order to cover up evidence of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Turkish newspaper reported on Monday.

The murder of the Saudi royal-insider-turned critic inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul has provoked widespread international outrage.

Turkish authorities have released gruesome details of a killing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said was a targeted hit.

While Riyadh officials have admitted the murder was planned, they have so far declined to release details of the whereabouts of the 59-year-old journalist’s missing body.

According to Turkey’s pro-government Sabah daily, Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member “cover-up team” to Istanbul on October 11, nine days after theWashington Post contributor vanished after entering the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

The paper said chemist Ahmad Abdulaziz Aljanobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya Al Zahrani were among “the so-called investigative team”, which visited the consulate every day until October 17, before leaving Turkey on October 20.

Saudi Arabia finally allowed Turkish police to search the consulate for the first time on October 15.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor said last week that Khashoggi’s body was “dissolved” after he was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a month ago, an advisor to

The claim echoed what a Turkish official had told the Washington Post — for which Khashoggi was a contributor — that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Erdogan, hinted in an article published on Friday that the body may even have been destroyed in acid.

In an editorial published in The Washington Post, Erdogan accused authorities in Riyadh of refusing to answer key questions about the murder, despite their arrest of 18 suspects a fortnight ago.

He said the order to murder the journalist came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government, adding that he did “not believe for a second” that King Salman was to blame.

But he pointedly failed to absolve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of responsibility for unleashing a “death squad” against the outspoken Saudi journalist.

The murder has badly tainted the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb met with Turkish authorities last week in Istanbul but refused to share information from Riyadh’s own investigation, according to Turkish officials.

Saudi authorities have also denied Turkish police permission to search a well in the consulate’s garden, but did allow them to take water samples for analysis, according to local media reports.

The murder has placed strain on the decades-old alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday it may take “a handful more weeks” before Washington has enough evidence to impose sanctions on the individuals responsible.

AFP

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