ジャマル・カショーギの失踪よりもサウジとの武器取引に関心を示すトランプ: ずくなしの冷や水



Trump under pressure to stop arms sales to ‘good partner’ Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi affair
As public pressure mounts on the Trump administration to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US defense industry is alarmed while critics of the Yemen war hope for the best.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in Turkey who wrote for the Washington Post, was last seen entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Friday. Turkey claims he was murdered by Saudi assassins, which Riyadh has denied.

Several major US weapons manufacturers have expressed concern to the White House about proposals to block further arms sales to the Saudis over the Khashoggi case, Reuters reported on Friday citing anonymous US officials.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has already suggested freezing the sale of US weapons to Riyadh until the Khashoggi case is resolved. President Donald Trump has so far remained unconvinced.

“They’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs ... for this country. I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States, because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

If it turns out that Khashoggi was abducted and killed on orders of the Saudi government, “it will destroy the relationship as we know it,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told Fox News on Friday. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) had said the day before that such a turn of events would “hugely change our relationship.”

Corker and Graham were among the 22 senators that sent Trump a letter earlier this week, demanding a US probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Act. The White House is now obligated to provide a report within 120 days, including recommendations for sanctions against those responsible.

Washington, DC lobbyists The Harbour Group announced on Friday they will be ending their $80,000 a month contract with the Saudi Embassy, CNN reported. The Saudi ambassador to Washington, brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reportedly returned to Riyadh for consultations earlier this week.

Though a number of US-based companies have chosen to withdraw from the upcoming Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still going. The desert kingdom has “been a very good partner,” he told CNBC on Friday.

Though the missing journalist is not an American citizen, he did write for the Washington Post - a newspaper beloved by the US political establishment and openly hostile to the Trump administration. Therefore, the Khashoggi affair has quickly grown into an internal US political issue, with some of Trump’s critics blaming it on the president’s “anti-press rhetoric.”

Critics of the Saudi war on Yemen have welcomed the newfound scrutiny of US support for the government in Riyadh, even if it took an unrelated case to bring it about. A Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen in 2015, on behalf of a pro-Riyadh president ousted by what they say are Iranian-backed rebels. The war has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and widespread civilian suffering.

Others have pointed out that weapons sales have now become an excuse for perpetuating US foreign wars, which Trump himself opposed during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump cites Saudi Arabia’s arms deal with U.S. to downplay apparent murder of journalist
"Again, this took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, is that right, or?"
Aaron Rupar Oct 11, 2018, 3:28 pm
During a press availability on Thursday, the supposed leader of the free world downplayed the apparent death of Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi regime as a cost of doing business, and pointed out that the Virginia-based dissident journalist was merely a permanent resident of the United States.

“Again, this took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, is that right, or?… he’s a permanent resident, okay,” President Trump said. “We don’t like it even a little bit. But as to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country, knowing that they have four or five alternatives − two very good alternatives − that would not be acceptable to me.”
Trump’s “$110 billion” comment refers to an arms deal his administration struck with Saudi Arabia in May.

Earlier during the press availability, Trump was unable to describe what exactly the U.S. is doing to investigate the apparent death of Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, beyond saying, “we are looking at it, we are looking at it very strongly.” He characterized Khashoggi’s potential murder as “a terrible thing, assuming it happened.”

Asked about the possibility of punishing Saudi Arabia, Trump made clear that he prioritizes doing business with the country more than he does basic human rights.

“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s being poured into our country,” Trump said. “They are spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs for this country.”

Trump’s financial relationship with Saudi Arabia goes beyond arms sales. As the Washington Post reported in August, the Saudi regime has been pumping money directly into Trump’s pockets through his hotels.

Trump: Khashoggi Still in Saudi Consulate
TEHRAN (FNA)- Ten days after disappearance of well known Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US President Donald Trump commented on the incident, which seems is not Riyadh's cup of tea. The leader of America, Saudi Arabia's strongest ally, stated that Khashoggi "went in" the Saudi consulate in Turkey, and "it doesn't look like he came out".

"We have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia," Trump told "Fox & Friends", adding that "we want to find out what happened. He went in, and it doesn't look like he came out. It certainly doesn't look like he's around".

The US president on Thursday called Washington relations with Riyadh "excellent" but indicated that could change if the Saudi government is found to have orchestrated the killing of Khashoggi.

Humiliating Riyadh government over its power and stability, Trump once again stressed that "there would be no Saudi Arabia if there wasn't a United States because we protected them".

Trump announced days ago that he has warned Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud he would not last in power "for two weeks" without US military support.

Despite the harsh rhetoric, the US administration has maintained a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it sees as a bulwark against Iran’s rising influence in the region.

When pressed by "Fox & Friends" hosts if American-Saudi ties would be jeopardized if it was discovered that Khashoggi was killed, Trump said, "You're right", adding that "I have to find out what happened. I mean, I do have to find out. And we're probably getting closer than you might think. But I have to find out what happened".

The president's remarks come days after The Washington Post, citing US intelligence intercepts, reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman hatched a plot to lure Khashoggi back to his home country and detain him.

"Well it would be a really sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future," Trump said when asked about the report, adding that "we don't like it. I don't like it. No good".

Trump has faced criticism for being too slow to respond to the disappearance of Khashoggi. A group of Republican and Democrat senators united to demand an investigation into the disappearance of the Saudi journalist. It could lead to sanctions against Saudi Arabia within 120 days.

Khashoggi has been missing since he entered the Riyadh consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The disappearance of the Saudi journalist has sparked global concern, particularly after Turkish sources stated that authorities believed he was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi officials at the consulate have denied that Khashoggi had been killed or abducted at the mission, rejecting the accusations were baseless; yet, Ankara has asked for permission to search the consulate premises.

As Khashoggi prepared to enter the Saudi consulate, a squad of men from Saudi Arabia who investigators suspect played a role in his disappearance was ready and in place. They had arrived from Saudi capital, Riyadh, early that morning and checked in at two inter-national hotels in Istanbul before driving to the consulate in the leafy Levent neighborhood, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation. According to flight records, two privately owned planes flying from Riyadh arrived in Istanbul on October 2, one before sunrise and the other in the late afternoon.

Last year, the US president signed the largest arms deal in history with Saudi Arabia despite warnings that he could be accused of being complicit in the regime's war crimes in Yemen. During visit to Riyadh in May 2017, Saudi Arabia agreed to buy $US110 billion of US weapons and signed "investment" deals worth billions more.

The kingdom has one of the highest rates of spending on its military in the world, which stood at 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017, according to World Bank data.

Before his presidency, Trump described Saudi Arabia as "a milk cow" which would be slaughtered when its milk runs out.

Whistle-Blower: Turkish Security in Possession of Saudi Consulate's CCTV Camera Footage Recorded in Past 3 Months
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish security forces have found access to all the video files recorded by the CCTV cameras of the Saudi consulate in the last three months during their investigation into the case of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid revealed on Thursday.

"All recorded files of the CCTV cameras of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in the last three months are now in the hands of the Turkish security forces," Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, said in a tweet on Thursday.

He added that the US officials, with the help of the CIA and Turkish authorities, have understood that Khashoggi has been killed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the one to be blamed.

Mujtahid said that US President Donald Trump and his advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner have come to believe that saving bin Salman is growing rather impossible.

On Wednesday, a Turkish pro-government newspaper reported to identify the 15 men who Turkey claims murdered a journalist inside the Saudi Arabian consulate.

The front-page of Sabah displayed pictures of the alleged 15-member intelligence team who they said were behind the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier this week, Turkish President Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to prove that Khashoggi left the embassy. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia granted permission for Turkish authorities to search the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Along with photographs of the suspects, Sabah published the names and birth years of the 15 Saudis they claim arrived on October 2. The newspaper published photographs of 12 of the men arriving in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, captured as the men passed through passport control.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year fearing possible arrest.

He has been critical of policies of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

No Murder Mystery: Saudi Royal Court Ordered Journalist Assassinated
TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish media have quoted officials as saying that Saudi Arabia is behind the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and that the order to murder him came from the “highest” levels of the Saudi royal court.

On top of this, Turkish officials have named 15 Saudi men that they have identified as “operatives” involved in the assassination of Khashoggi. The murderous group included a Saudi Special Forces member, two royal guards, and a chief in the internal security agency.

Of course, Saudi officials still deny that anything at all happened to Khashoggi, claiming he entered the consulate on October 2 and left unharmed. Turkish officials, however, don’t think so. According to CCTV cameras, phone call records by the CIA (they refuse to acknowledge or come forward), and confidential intelligence, he was killed. His body has not been found, but there has been no sign of him since this visit, and this is in no way a murder mystery:

1- Turkish officials have concluded that the order to assassinate Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. President Donald Trump has confirmed that he has talked to officials at the highest levels of the Saudi government as well about the matter.

2- Khshoggi was last seen at 1:14 p.m. local time last Tuesday as he entered the Saudi consulate. Turkish officials, talking to Western media, have described the operation as "quick and complex," and that Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the Saudi consulate. The agents "dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose. It's like 'Pulp Fiction,'" they told the media.

3- Turkish officials have repeatedly said that Khashoggi has been killed. A friend of the journalist, Turan Kislakci, who is also the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, told the Western media that Turkish officials called him and "offered their condolences and told us to be ready for a funeral".

4- That Turkey was so easily able to identify this group, and that they arrived in such a conspicuous manner suggests that the Saudis did little to cover their actions, and may even have figured being implicated would intimidate other dissidents. Closed-circuit television footage, flight trackers, intercepted communications and even rumors of a bone saw can easily help serve pieces of this puzzle.

5- The Washington Post - for which Khashoggi wrote critical columns – says US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture the journalist. The Post says the Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there.

6- Trump claims he wants the US to get to the bottom of the incident. He told reporters that the US is “demanding everything” and considers the matter a very serious situation, adding the US is working closely with Turkey. Trump is clearly doubling down on his push for answers on the matter. He’s not the only one, with Congressional leaders that usually side with Saudi Arabia on all things even starting to ask questions. In that case, the next best move by Washington is to ask the CIA to release their records on phone calls before the murder happened. Yes, they always keep phone call records of everyone up until five years.

7- US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke to reporters Wednesday, October 10, reporting that it would be a “game changer” if the Saudis had in any way mistreated Khashoggi. Since early indications are that the Saudis had him killed and chopped him into bits, that’s going to be tough for Graham to back away from if this turns out to be the case, which, indeed, is the case. Because Sen. Graham and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) both have warned there would be “hell to pay” if the Saudis were behind the journalist’s disappearance. It seems that’s an even safer bet, and while Graham didn’t want to elaborate on what that meant, he did say he thinks the Saudis “know what it means”.

All things considered, and as maintained by Turkish officials, "The Saudis are not cooperating fully with the investigation. They are not open to cooperating." In addition, Saudi authorities have asked Turkish authorities to postpone the search of their consulate in Istanbul. Concerns over Khashoggi’s disappearance have nothing to do with international politics or the geopolitics of the Middle East. For that reason and no other, this particular murder case should prompt calls for investigations from around the world, particularly from the United Nations.

To that end, the Wahhabi regime’s staunchest Western allies, including the United States, where Khashoggi had applied for permanent residency, are equally expected to urge Saudi Arabia to come clean and refrain from double standards. By simply being in touch with the "highest levels" of the Saudi government about Khashoggi's case and/or expressing concerns about his murder, as President Trump would like to suggest, the Saudi regime won’t be pressed enough to reveal more about the murder, much less be held to account in the court of justice.

The Saudi regime might have been able to silence Khashoggi, but it has miscalculated the global impact his murder would have. Under these circumstances and international law, the autocratic regime should never be allowed to escape international justice or else we should wait for more such crimes. It is now the international community's turn to show its choice.

For US Money Is More Important Than Murder of Saudi Journalist
TEHRAN (FNA)- A top priority for the US administration, as with many recent administrations, is the selling of massive amounts of US arms to Saudi Arabia. That says why President Donald Trump will never get to the bottom of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

He first claimed he is determined to tackle this matter at the “highest levels.” Now Trump is walking back the issue, insisting that it isn’t worth it for the US to imperil $110 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia over a single journalist. Trump says it wouldn’t be acceptable to lose the $110 billion deal, adding that the journalist’s disappearance took place in Turkey, and he’s not a United States citizen.

Trump, as with many recent presidents, has prioritized the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States over that of the journalist’s death. He has even specifically warned against upsetting Saudi leaders as it could hurt the US monetarily. “I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s being poured into our country,” Trump said, according to a tweet this week. He added, “they are spending $110b on military equipment and on things that create jobs for this country.”

This is not something of a surprise:

- The arms deal is simply too important to US arms companies, and any serious attempt to punish the Saudis for the killing of Khashoggi is going to boil down to a fight over the arms deal. After all, this is the same autocratic regime that has been murdering thousands of Yemeni people since 2015 and the US government has done nothing to stop the conflict, much less stop its arms supply or refuelling Saudi aircraft mid-air.

- Saudi Arabia is no different than the other authoritarian, violent, and despotic regimes that have dominated the region since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Saudi Arabia is a harsh place, where politically-motivated assassinations and unsavoury governing practices are as commonplace as the oil flowing underneath its sands. To view Saudi Arabia as above the region’s other Arab states is not matched by the facts.

- The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is not rooted in common beliefs, shared values and ethics. It is rooted in identical foreign policy interests to dominate the region and protect Israel. Such ties are the reason why Yemen and Syria are in turmoil. They are also the reason why ISIL and Al-Qaeda, the US-Saudi foot soldiers, are still present throughout the region.

- Saudi Arabia is not the answer to the region’s many problems, as Trump would like to suggest. It is in fact the root cause of all regional problems. The despotic regime has taken maximum advantage of America’s appetite for controlling crude market and a desire for a long-term regional partner in crime in order to press its own Takfiri-Wahhabi agenda in the region. This agenda is centred on the regime’s rivalry with Iran and its absolutist quest for hegemony. The United States, having interest in the sectarian fault-lines of the Middle East, has frequently chosen to wade into Arab conflicts on Saudi Arabia’s side.

- Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen, its embargo of Qatar and its export of Wahhabi ideology are not exactly helpful in assuring US security. Many of those who carried out terror attacks in the US were from Saudi Arabia. Riyadh’s war on Yemen, and Washington’s logistical assistance to the Saudi Air Force in particular, has been especially devastating to the people of that destitute country and America’s reputation among the Yemeni population − all the while providing more operating space for the very transnational terrorist groups the US and Saudi Arabia claim to combat in the Peninsula.

- Khashoggi's story now displays pretty well that the Saudi regime is not concerned about women’s rights, press freedom, due process, political pluralism, and individual freedom, but focused on perpetuating its control and subjugating its smaller Persian Gulf neighbours into vassal states. Saudi Arabia has never been a helpful partner in ensuring regional security and peace. Saudi and Persian Gulf Arab money have been absolutely essential in creating and arming ISIL and Al-Qaeda.

In the prevailing environment, it is silly to assume that Trump will ever upend the terms of the decades-long alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. US politicians, media figures and foreign policy elites - even those who have fawned over the authoritarian Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman – will never criticize the continuation of US-Saudi alliance. Quite the opposite, the US will continue to give the Saudis a blank check, politically and militarily, for nearly as long as it can last.

In between, in Washington who cares if the Saudis kidnapped, tortured and assassinated Khashoggi inside their consulate in Istanbul? After all, Saudi Ambassador Khalid Bin Salman has told the US that the consulate cannot provide video footage of the consulate because they only have livestreaming, not recorded video! Again, who cares if this is the only consulate in the world that doesn’t tape - and didn’t tape its own nefarious activity.

Therefore, don’t expect the White House to rush to judgment. Because all of this and more have already passed the smell test in Washington. This particular murder case will never call the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States into fundamental question because Trump says jobs would be at risk if arms sales to the country were halted.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 10:29| Comment(0) | 国際・政治
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