Exclusive: Men who fled own country after threats to out them have been detained in Australia
The last few months have seen US aggression toward Iran creep dangerously close to war. Washington’s propaganda line is generally that Iran is the major aggressor in the Middle East. But amid this saber-rattling, Donald Trump has just given the latest in a long line of free passes to what is perhaps the region’s biggest villain.
Free pass to Saudi Arabia, yet again
This resolution would weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners
The Senate repudiating a president of the majority party on a matter of national security would be unusual under any circumstances. That it comes at a time when tensions with a major international foe are boiling over is nothing short of astonishing, a sign of how far President Trump has fallen as commander in chief even among Republicans.
The Post reports on the Senate’s vote to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia:
Trump has cited rising tensions with Iran as justification for using his emergency powers to complete the deals.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), had initially filed 22 resolutions of disapproval against the sales — one for every contract the administration had expedited by emergency order, effectively sidestepping congressional opposition. But after weeks of negotiations, Senate leaders agreed to hold just three votes, which will encompass the substance of all the blocking resolutions, congressional aides said.
In other words, senators don’t believe the president is playing it straight on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which set off a firestorm regarding the Saudis on Capitol Hill. They do not believe in Trump’s policy of making Saudi Arabia a proxy in a battle with Iran over regional dominance. And, moreover, the Senate is willing to undercut Trump at the precise moment his credibility and judgment are under fire in a standoff with Iran.
The crown prince of Saudi Arabia should be investigated over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi because there is “credible evidence” that he and other senior officials are liable for the killing, according to a damning and forensic UN report.
In an excoriating 100-page analysis published on Wednesday of what happened to Khashoggi last October, Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur, says the death of the journalist was “an international crime”.
“It is the conclusion of the special rapporteur that Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,” she says.
Using recordings of conversations from inside the Istanbul consulate where Khashoggi was killed, her report pieces together his last moments, and how he was confronted by Saudi officials, one of whom said: “We are coming to get you.”
When Khashoggi refused to cooperate, a struggle can be heard, including heavy panting. The special rapporteur’s report concludes: “Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries suggest that Mr Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag.”
Saudi Arabia dismissed the report. The minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, tweeted it was “nothing new … the report of the rapporteur in the human rights council contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations.”
The report highlights how critics of the kingdom are deliberately targeted, and comes amid a number of claims that Saudi Arabia has been using sophisticated surveillance spyware to hack the phones of journalists and academics.
The Guardian can now reveal it has been warned that its journalists have been targeted by a hacking unit inside Saudi Arabia.
Despite repeated requests to the Saudi authorities to address the claims, and to provide reassurance that no such operation is under way, the kingdom has refused to do so.
The UN report’s findings will heap pressure on the kingdom, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has repeatedly been urged to explain what he knew about the murder of Khashoggi.
The kingdom initially denied any involvement, and then described it as a rogue operation that the heir to the throne knew nothing about.
That is not the view of the special rapporteur’s report. Its main findings include:
• There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation, of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s.
Relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have rarely been worse, regarding the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman – for which both sides blame each other. Nevertheless, in the history of relations between the two countries, there have been regular shifts between tension and rapprochement – and things can change for the better once again.
As an Iranian and a Saudi, working as research fellows for peace studies, we believe it is time that our two countries seek to manage the conflict, improve their dialogue and begin the peace building process. And we are hopeful that this could happen.
But how? Peace cannot be achieved overnight; it requires a range of factors to strengthen diplomatic ties and decrease the level of enmity between the two states. First, we suggest both states’ politicians soften the language in their speeches, altering the hostile rhetoric to a more moderate one. This would open new paths towards a direct and constructive dialogue, reducing the tensions that are affecting the two countries, the region and, potentially, the world.
Direct dialogue between the two regional actors could launch negotiations that may lead to more stability in the region. The existing regional turmoil has had a detrimental impact on relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran over Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen. The [Yemen war], which has caused a [dramatic humanitarian crisis], remains one of the main areas of conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but it also offers ground for talks between the two states.
Source: Saudi and Iran: how our two countries could make peace and bring stability to the Middle East : The Conversation
The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, the Washington Post has reported.
The Post said US officials expressed high confidence in the CIA assessment, which contradicts Saudi government assertions that he was not involved.
It is the strongest assessment to date linking Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler to the killing, and complicates Donald Trump’s efforts to safeguard US ties with one of the closest American allies in the region.
Saudi Arabia, why is the West not listening to all the atrocities created in the name of Saudi Arabia.
They have listened re the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but are ignoring the murder of the population of Yemen, all because of billions in sales in weapons and the possible loss of jobs.
The West also get many leads of terrorist forthcoming incidents, but how many of these have been financed by Saudi money.
Can the Saudi Royal Family be trusted, I feel the short answer is No.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
‘No one cares about Yemen, a shame’
The United Nations say Saudi Arabia should stop the bombing. Human rights organizations condemn the sale of weapons by Western countries to Saudi Arabia.
But while the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been world news for weeks, things remain remarkably silent about the crimes of Saudi Arabia against the millions of Yemenis. With a threatening famine as a result.
Thea Hilhorst, professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, typifies the situation in Yemen as a war crime. …
The Yemeni relief worker Radhya Almutawakel is…
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ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a “planned” and “brutal” murder and called on Saudi Arabia to extradite 18 suspects to Turkey to face justice for the crime.
Erdogan’s highly anticipated comments, during a speech to his ruling party in Ankara, the Turkish capital, contradicted Saudi accounts that Khashoggi was killed when an argument inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul escalated into a fistfight. The Turkish leader did not directly accuse the Saudi leadership of involvement in the killing but strongly indicated that the Saudi investigation, which has resulted in the arrests of 18 people so far, has not yet reached high enough into the kingdom’s ruling circles.
“It will not satisfy the public by just pinning this kind of matter on a few security and intelligence officers,” he said. “Covering up this kind of savagery will hurt the conscience of all humanity.”
“Saudi Arabia took an important step by accepting the murder. After this, we expect them to reveal those responsible for this matter. We have information that the murder is not instant, but planned,” he said.
While Erdogan did not address the most explosive allegations that have surfaced during the investigation – notably that Khashoggi was dismembered after he was killed — the president provided the most detailed timeline yet of the days and hours leading up the murder on Oct. 2. He said a team of Saudi agents who were dispatched to Istanbul had carefully prepared for Khashoggi’s death.
The Saudi team that plotted the murder was first alerted, Erdogan said, after Khashoggi visited the consulate on Friday, Sept. 28.
“Planning and the work of a road map starts here,” the president said. Beginning three days later, on Oct. 1, teams of Saudi agents begin arriving in Istanbul, with one team visiting wooded areas in and around Istanbul “for reconnaissance,” Erdogan said, referring to areas that Turkish police later focused on as they searched for Khashoggi’s body.
After another team arrives at the Istanbul consulate, “the hard disk on the consulate camera is removed,” he added. The Saudi team consisted of “intelligence, security and forensic workers,” Erdogan said.
Khashoggi entered the mission at around 1:14 p.m. on Oct. 2. When he had not emerged a few hours later, his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside, alerted authorities, and an investigation was started, Erdogan said. Camera footage showed that Khashoggi had never left, he added.
Erdogan highlighted attempts by the Saudis to obstruct or cover up the killing, including a ruse involving a Saudi agent who was dressed like Khashoggi and captured on camera exiting the consulate.
“Why did 15 people gather in Istanbul the day of the murder? Who did these people receive orders from?” he asked. “Why was the consulate opened not immediately but days later for investigation? When the murder was obvious, why were inconsistent explanations given?”
“Why is the corpse still not found?”