Worldwide, we are horrified about the death of critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia admitted this night that the man would have been killed in a “fight” at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That rattling statement evokes scepticism, anger and disbelief worldwide, but the American president Trump thinks the Saudis “credible.”
The president told the journalists in Glendale, Arizona, where he was for a campaign event. “This announcement is a good first step, an important step,” said the president, who does not believe that the Saudi authorities lied to him. “But we have not finished our research yet. What happened to Khashoggi is unacceptable.”
Trump said he would talk to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The American president therefore said that he hoped that any sanctions against Riaad would not harm the arms trade.
The American arms trade with Saudi Arabia is estimated to be worth a total of 450 billion dollars. “That can cost more than a million jobs,” says Trump. He reiterated that Saudi Arabia is also important as an ally in the region, as a “counterweight to Iran”. “That is not the easiest situation.”
In May last year, the US signed an agreement with the Saudis to deliver 110 billion dollars of weapons to the Gulf state.
Previously the White House remained on the surface in a first official reaction. It said “to take note of the communication from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that the investigation into the fate of Jamal Kashoggi is making progress and that it is taking action against the suspects identified so far. We will continue to follow international research closely”, it sounded.
Statement on Saudi Arabia Investigation: pic.twitter.com/DjBdwZAGAi
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 19, 2018
Trump’s lukewarm reaction to the Saudi statement is overshadowed by that of his fellow politicians. For example, some Republican Senators have already expressed themselves in no uncertain terms about the case.
The Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said he had strong doubts about Saudi Arabia’s statements. “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” he wrote on Twitter. In the past few weeks the country repeatedly stated that it had nothing to do with the ‘disappearance’ of the journalist.
It’s hard to find this latest “explanation” as credible.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 19, 2018
Requirements to respect human rights
The Republican Senator Mike Coffman of Colorado, who is a marine veteran himself, goes even further and calls on Trump in strong terms to recall the American ambassador from Saudi Arabia.
“The US and the rest of the international community must condemn the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and the use of diplomatic posts as torture chambers by rogue states”
Mike Coffman, Republican Senator Colorado
“Our country must stand up for its values and demand from our ‘allies’ that they respect human rights. I have not fought so that we can look the other way. The US and the rest of the international community must condemn the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and the use of diplomatic posts as torture chambers by rogue states,” he says.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) October 19, 2018
Also, in journalistic circles sceptical reactions to the Saudi statement are made. For example, CNN’s security expert, Jim Sciutto, who says he has met Khashoggi, that he cannot imagine that the 59-year-old bespectacled intellectual would engage in a physical battle with several security agents. That is unimaginable. “Having met Kashoggi, the idea of the 59-year-old bespectacled intellectual engaging in a physical fight with several intelligence agents is beyond the imagination.”
Having met Kashoggi, the idea of the 59-year-old bespectacled intellectual engaging in a physical fight with several intelligence agents is beyond the imagination. https://t.co/tqh4oaPLyl
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 19, 2018
“Khashoggi has been killed”
Karen Attiah, Khashoggi’s editor at the Washington Post, the newspaper for which the man distorted critical columns about his homeland, dismissed Saudi Arabia’s statements as “utter bullshit”, big nonsense. What I loathe about this statement is the use of passive verb forms to imply that it is an accident. Jamal did not just die during a fight. Khashoggi was murdered by Saudis in a consulate. His life has been taken away from him, the woman tweets resolutely. “What I hate about the statement is the use of the passive construction to imply this was an accident. Jamal didn’t just “die during a struggle.” #Khashoggi was killed. By Saudi men. In a consulate. His life was taken from him.”
What I hate about the statement is the use of the passive construction to imply this was an accident. Jamal didn’t just “die during a struggle.” #Khashoggi was killed. By Saudi men. In a consulate. His life was taken from him.
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) October 20, 2018
Jamal Khashoggi’s Washington Post editor @KarenAttiah, who has led the outcry over his death. Yesterday she told @grynbaum “Jamal was one of us. This is not an attack just on him. It’s an attack on us.” https://t.co/z34cu5GgZR
— Connor Ennis (@EnnisNYT) October 20, 2018
UN boss wants thorough and transparent research
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, is “very upset by the confirmation of the death of Jamal Khashogggi”. That is what Guterres says in a press release that appeared after Saudi Arabia confirmed the death of the Saudi journalist.
Guterres emphasizes “the need for a quick, deep and transparent investigation into the circumstances of death”. Guterres wants “the responsible people to account quickly” for their actions, it also added. The speed of Guterres’ reaction this night is in stark contrast to the caution the UN has up to now demonstrated in the case.
Source: ANP, Twitter