With Saudis, We Shouldn't Put Our Morals on a Shelf

Trump to Send Pompeo to Meet King as Saudis Open Khashoggi ProbeMore

The sources said the interrogation was meant to lead to his enforced return to Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi vanished early this month after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi's disappearance is threatening to spark a geopolitical crisis as the USA and Turkey demand answers from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials have strongly denied any involvement in his disappearance and say that he left the consulate soon after arriving. After President Donald Trump on Sunday said he could take action if the allegations proved true, the kingdom threatened to use its economic clout to retaliate.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Mr Trump was sending Mr Pompeo to Riyadh because "determining what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is something of great importance to the President".

The tone differed markedly from the statement released by members of the family on October 7, in which they accused the media of politicizing his disappearance and affirmed their trust in the Saudi government to resolve the case.

The disappearance caused tension between usual allies Washington and Riyadh, with Donald Trump promising severe punishment for Saudi Arabia if an assassination is proven. "The king firmly denies any knowledge of it".

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Turkish police believe he was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi officials, but Riyadh has dismissed the claim as "baseless". Khashoggi, a USA resident, has not been seen in public since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

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Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed - a claim Saudi Arabia has denied - with the controversy dealing a huge blow to the kingdom's image and efforts by its youthful crown prince to showcase a reform drive.

Further, a team of cleaners were reported to have entered the consulate on Monday lunchtime - "causing a minor flurry of excitement", according to one reporter - hours before the search team showed up. And that "it was in the hands of his son, the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman]".

King Salman over the weekend ordered the Saudi public prosecutor to investigate the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, partly due to information received from Turkish authorities, the Saudi official said Monday, speaking anonymously because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter.

Khashoggi, 59, who writes for the Washington Post, has said he feared being arrested as part of a crackdown on dissident voices by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Other business leaders who have said they would not attend the conference, including Uber [UBER.UL] Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, said they were concerned about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Turkish officials had speculated that the Saudi government would blame "rogue" elements of its security services as a way of insulating Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, from global criticism. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Gulf states in a military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have said he should - because it would harm the USA economically.

The two countries agreed last week to work together on the case and conduct a joint search in the consulate, where Khashoggi was last seen on October 2.

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