Saudi dissident believes Riyadh tapped calls with Khashoggi

Muriel Colon
October 16, 2018

The investigation of the case of Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering Saudi Arabia's Istanbul Consulate on October 2, is set to start Monday evening, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Police officers carrying files and equipment walked through the heavy metal doors of the consulate after sunset, carrying out an extraordinary search of a diplomatic post that is otherwise considered foreign soil under global law as worldwide concern grows for the missing Washington Post columnist.

It remained unclear what forensic evidence would remain after Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2, and seemingly in emphasis of that point a cleaning crew carrying mops, trash bags and lugging cartons of milk also entered the consulate.

USA president Donald Trump has threatened Riyadh with "severe punishment" if the journalist was killed inside its Istanbul consulate.

One of them is a forensic expert who has worked at the Saudi Interior Ministry for 20 years, according to a LinkedIn profile. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras within the post, Turkish media reported.

Turkish officials allege he was murdered.

Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal last week to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance. Since then, however, Saudi and Turkish officials argued over how thoroughly Turkish investigators would be allowed to inspect the diplomatic compound.

While the mere hint of Saudi Arabia using oil as an economic weapon still brings back memories of queues at the pump and stagflation in the Western world, there are good reasons why Saudi Arabia hasn't wanted to brandish oil-market power as a political tool.

Aldakhil pointed out that due the economic muscle of Saudi Arabia, which is the destination of ten per cent of the weapons manufactured in the USA and is one of the top 20 economies, Riyadh will have as many as 30 different options "without flinching an eye if sanctions are imposed on it".

Khashoggi, a USA resident, disappeared after entering the consulate to get marriage documents. The foreign ministers of Germany, France and the United Kingdom, also on Sunday, demanded that Saudi Arabia allow a complete and full investigation. There have been suggestions that Khashoggi was previously concerned he was about to be captured by the Saudi court.

The Saudi delegation that was due to be involved in the search and has been in Turkey since Friday arrived at Istanbul police headquarters, Turkish television said.

Trump administration officials told The Associated Press that intelligence collected by the inconclusive as to what actually happened to Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has denied the claims.

Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case that has strained the Americans' relationship with the Saudis, carefully cultivated by the US president. Pompeo left Washington soon after. Saudi Arabia has denied that. "I mean, who knows?"

President Trump held an impromptu meeting with reporters on the White House lawn before departing for Florida discussing the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry surrounding his disappearance threatens to not just harm brittle Turkey-Saudi relations but also alarm the kingdom's supporters in the West and tarnish the reform drive spearheaded by the crown prince.

Prince Mohammed, King Salman's son, has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

Abdulaziz said he was working on several projects with Khashoggi in recent months, including a campaign to counter Riyadh's pro-government propaganda on social media. They include the CEO of Uber, a company in which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars; billionaire Richard Branson; JPMorgan Chase & Co.

American media groups Bloomberg, the New York Times and CNN have also withdrawn their participation, and the London-based Financial Times will no longer partner the event.

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