Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Saudi Crown Prince Had No Knowledge of 'Specific' Khashoggi Operation

Saudi Crown Prince Had No Knowledge of 'Specific' Khashoggi Operation

"May his soul rest in peace", the attorney general said in a statement.

Congressman Jim Costa said that he is appalled by the reports that Saudi officials were involved in the death of Khashoggi.

The kingdom at the same time announced the firing of four top intelligence officials, including Maj Gen Ahmed bin Hassan Assiri, a one-time spokesman for the Saudi military's campaign in Yemen who later became a confidant of Prince Mohammed.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from France, Britain and the Netherlands have abandoned plans to attend an October 23-25 investor conference in Riyadh, joining a list of Western business executives and putting the high-profile event in question.

It evolved into a major crisis for Prince Mohammed, a United States administration favourite whose image as a modernising Arab reformer has been gravely undermined. Regarding the Saudi arrests, he said, "It's a big first step".

The Khashoggi case has presented Trump with one of the most acute foreign policy crises of his almost two-year-old presidency.

"We must carefully examine both the facts surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance as well as our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and I call on the President to take strong action in unwavering defence of our values".

USA officials have told CNN that the operation could not have been carried out without the knowledge of Prince bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.

Saudi officials have roundly denied that Prince Mohammed had any involvement. He left Turkey on Tuesday.

The two-star general's position as spokesman made him a household name and he was soon part of the crown prince's inner circle.

Democratic US Senator Richard Blumenthal told CNN the Saudi explanation "absolutely defies credibility" and he called for an worldwide investigation of Khashoggi's death. Trump dispatched Pompeo earlier in the week to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to speak to officials about the case.

"They agreed to spend $450 billion on buying in and investing in the United States, so I hope we can keep that open".

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"Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable", Trump said.

Five high-ranking officials have been removed from their posts, including the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service, and 18 Saudis have been detained, state TV said.

And Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee noted that the Senate has demanded an investigation by the US government.

Where is the evidence that has been repeatedly referred to by the Turkish authorities?

Trump termed it an "important first step".

"We're going to find out who knew what when and where and we'll figure it out". He was last seen October 2.

In Arizona this evening, before Saudi Arabia acknowledged the WaPo columnist had been murdered in its consulate, Trump said he would consider sanctions against that kingdom, would involve Congress in any decision, while making his own "certain recommendations".

Saudi critics said it was obvious the authorities didn't want to hand over Khashoggi's body as it would reveal how badly he was tortured.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in December 2014. "Even if Khashoggi died because of an altercation, that's no excuse for his murder", Menendez tweeted.

"This is far from the end and we need to keep up the worldwide pressure".

Khashoggi's disappearance quickly became an global issue because he was an opinion columnist for The Washington Post, well-known around the world as a critic of the Saudi royal family of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (pictured above left) and especially of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

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