U.S. ramps up pressure on Saudis over missing journalist

Jamal Khashoggi's alleged murder in Saudi consulate in Turkey has put Trump administration in a delicate spot

Jamal Khashoggi's alleged murder in Saudi consulate in Turkey has put Trump administration in a delicate spot

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he addressed the disappearance of a Washington Post journalist with an unnamed senior Saudi leader at the "highest level".

Corker spoke with reporters after the letter was released, and he emphasized that senators "specifically said it included the highest members of the regime" and could "absolutely" lead to USA sanctions targeting the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened.

"It's a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation and we want to get to the bottom of it", Trump said.

The reported details, coupled with more-direct comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appear aimed at gradually pressuring Saudi Arabia to reveal what happened to Khashoggi, while also balancing Ankara's need to maintain the kingdom's investments in Turkey and relations on other issues. "I don't. I do look at it certainly has a shot across the bow at Saudi Arabia and these are very serious steps", he said.

Turkey's Sabah newspaper reports that it has identified 15 members of an intelligence team it says was involved in the Saudi's disappearance. "And we want do get to the bottom of it", the United States president said.

It was not clear, the report said, whether the Saudis meant to arrest and interrogate Mr. Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the USA officials warned Mr. Khashoggi that he was a target. The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him.

It is said some of the men went into the Saudi consulate before Mr Khashoggi.

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"Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?", Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

USA intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi before he vanished, according to the Post, which cited two people familiar with the information.

Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been the Trump administration's point person on Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi, who has penned articles critical of some of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies in the Arab and Western press, was a Washington Post op-ed writer.

Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul Oct. 2.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and frequent critic of the Saudi government, was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday. His disappearance has triggered a widening investigation by Turkish authorities, amid fears the journalist was killed inside the consulate. "We will probably know in the very short future". Those unnamed officials said they believed the operation was carried out by a squad of 15 people flown into Turkey on two charter flights ― something that could only have been ordered by the country's leadership due to its complexity and risk.

Turkey on Monday conveyed its expectation of "full cooperation" from Saudi Arabia in the search for the missing journalist. Connecticut's Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said it would be time for the USA to rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia if it turned out Khashoggi was lured to his death by the Saudis. The administration's Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for its yet-to-be-released plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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