Thomas Lippmann: US Has Never Risked Saudi Relationship Over Human Rights

Thomas Lippmann: US Has Never Risked Saudi Relationship Over Human Rights

"I hope that the king and the crown prince didn't know about it", he said.

Swaths of U.S. executives have declined to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference next week.

Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, wrapping up a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss the crisis over the missing journalist, made a point to stress areas where the kingdom and America cooperate.

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington's closest allies and the Khashoggi disappearance is putting the administration in an awkward position.

"I'm not giving cover at all", Trump told reporters on Wednesday. There has been no such correction.

Turkish officials have said they believe the Saudi journalist was murdered and his body removed, which the Saudis have strongly denied.

Many have been speculating in recent days what the effect of the Khashoggi affair will have on the political position of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the country behind whose throne he became the power only a little over a year ago.

US intelligence reports, accounts from Khashoggi's friends, passport records and social media profiles paint a picture of a brutal killing that at least had its roots in Mohammed's desire to silence Khashoggi, a former palace insider turned critic of the government and the prince in particular.

Trump has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudis, citing Riyadh's role in countering Iranian influence in the region - and tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals.

"Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey Wednesday after holding talks with Saudi leaders in Riyadh.

Riyadh insists that he left the consulate safely.

He has not been seen since he stepped inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"It is in our interest to maintain a relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially on issues like counterterrorism cooperation and regional stability initiatives, but prior administrations have been able to do that while still pushing for reforms and holding nations accountable for human rights abuses", Monaco said.

Trump has speculated without providing evidence that "rogue killers" could be responsible.

What makes this different is what may be irrefutable evidence of a horror committed against a USA resident: US intelligence intercepts that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's interrogation and kidnapping back to Saudi Arabia and Turkish authorities' recordings in the Istanbul consulate of Khashoggi screaming as his fingers were cut off, and a forensic doctor advising others to listen to music while he dismembers the body with a bone saw.

Earlier on Wednesday, he told Fox Business Network that the United States relies on Saudi Arabia to fight against terrorism and Iran, and would thus be unwilling to walk away from the kingdom, a "tremendous purchaser" of US military equipment.

Prominent US newspapers have reported, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi officials may soon acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate but blame it on a botched intelligence operation. "That means I'm not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy's in charge".

Turkey has not shared with the USA government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven US and European security officials told Reuters.

In an interview with Fox News, a prominent Trump ally in the Senate called on Saudi Arabia to reject the crown prince, known as MBS, who rose to power previous year and has aggressively sought to soften the kingdom's image overseas and attract foreign investment.

Turkish investigators on Wednesday scoured the residence of Saudi consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi for evidence in the case, after doing the same at the consulate Tuesday. Erdogan said there had been "a couple of delays", according to Pompeo, but the Turks feel confident now the Saudis will admit them to the consulate to perform their investigation.

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