Khashoggi affair won't stop Trump's drive for war with Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to the media before leaving Riyadh Saudi Arabia Wednesday Oct. 17 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed Tuesday in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump said Tuesday he spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who "denied any knowledge" of Khashoggi's whereabouts or fate.

The top USA diplomat also said the Saudi leadership "strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul".

A latest AP report said that the Turkish police had found evidence in Saudi consulate that Khashoggi was killed there.

Turkish media on Wednesday expected Pompeo to bring answers with him from Riyadh, his previous stop, where he met with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

Pompeo has been gentle with the Saudis, issuing anodyne statements after the meeting like "I don't want to talk about any facts".

Mr Khashoggi had been unafraid to criticise the government and Crown Prince and had previously been warned to stop writing articles and stop using Twitter.

"These shocking and gruesome details would explain why US intelligence sources told CNN and other American media outlets that they were "utterly shocked" at what the content of the recordings presented to them by the Turkish authorities", Elshayyal observed.

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But regardless of which of the three options it is, it's worth asking why the president of the United States is saying the exact things the Saudis would like him to say - at a time when they are supposed to be on the defensive over the potential killing of a journalist for an American newspaper.

President Trump says his administration is looking into the whereabouts of a Saudi writer who works for the Washington Post.

The claim, which was first made to the New York Times earlier in the investigation, comes after Turkish officials searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday night. But a report from CNN also released Monday indicated that the Saudi government is preparing to a release a report claiming that Khashoggi was killed as a result of a botched interrogation. The Saudis initially denied that this happened, but without any video evidence that he ever left the consulate, they've seemingly painted themselves into a corner. As Reuters notes, Google had announced an initiative to train aspiring tech workers at five "innovation hubs" throughout Saudi Arabia.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has "accepted" a request for a search of the official residence but had not yet given its final consent.

Asked if that would include members of the royal family, America's top diplomat said: "They made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable". "You are going to get me in trouble", according to the paper, which did not reveal how it obtained the tapes.

In Washington, President Donald Trump echoed the possibility that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of "rogue killers".

"In each of those meetings I stressed the importance of them conducting a complete investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi".

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