The brutal murder of my friend, journalist Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul this past October, has triggered a geopolitical tsunami. Unlike during the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when the American political establishment was mostly unified in its quest to preserve the U.S.-Saudi partnership, the consensus in Congress now is that business as usual—as defined by the presidency of Donald Trump—cannot continue.
Jamal, as all of us who had the privilege of knowing him are aware, was a proud Saudi patriot—one who, overall, was supportive of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic and social reform agenda in the country. But he was highly critical of the crown prince’s repressive tactics and had no illusions about the brutality of the Saudi government—for instance, when several high-profile Saudis, including members of the royal family, were detained at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh in late 2017. Jamal was also highly critical of the Saudi leadership’s embrace of President Trump.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says President Donald Trump isn’t telling the truth when he says a CIA report lacks evidence to blame Saudi Arabia’s crown prince for the killing in Turkey of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee).
Trump said Thursday the CIA report had “feelings certain ways” but no clear conclusion.
Asked Sunday about Trump’s characterization, California Rep. Adam Schiff, who was briefed on the classified report, told CNN: “I think the president is being dishonest.”
|MATTHEW INGRAM, CJR|AIWA! NO!|Since reports first emerged in early October that Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident and a columnist for The Washington Post, had been killed inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul by unknown agents of the Saudi government, those outraged by his brutal murder have been waiting for some kind of definitive statement from President Trump about how his government plans to respond to the crime. On Tuesday, they got a statement, but it’s not likely to appease anyone, except the Saudi Arabian government.
In a nutshell, the Trump administration says it has already done everything it plans to do to punish those responsible for Khashoggi’s death, by issuing sanctions against 17 Saudi citizens who were reportedly involved in killing the Post columnist and allegedly dismembering his body. And what about a CIA document that reportedly says Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder? The statement from the president dismisses this with a metaphorical wave of the hand, saying US intelligence agencies continue to assess all information about the killing, so “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|President Donald Trump delivered a full-throated defense of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday even as he conceded “it could very well be” that the kingdom’s crown prince knew about the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone,” Trump said in an oddly worded statement filled with exclamation points. “Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder.”