In a not-entirely-unsurprising turn of events, it appears the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is putting extra pressure on the United States to cooperate in what many believe is the cover-up of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey at the beginning of October.
After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Republican Congressman from the tiny midwest kingdom of Kansas, arrived in Saudi Arabia to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance, a large payment “coincidentally” arrived in US coffers from the oil-rich Middle East nation under the auspices of assistance in the ongoing Syrian struggle.
But the amount and the timing of the payment — $100 million US Dollars received the same day as Pompeo’s arrival — have aroused suspicions among analysts in Washington that King Salman may be trying to signal to Donald Trump just how important US cooperation in the Khashoggi matter is to him.
Syria analyst Joshua Landis was disgusted by Pompeo’s seeming happiness while in the Saudi kingdom, directly linking the payment:
Saudi Arabia transfers $100 million to U.S. for stabilization in North Syria on day of Pompeo visit to MbS amid crisis over Khashoggi – by @John_Hudson
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) October 17, 2018
Saudi Arabia has been rife with human rights abuses, but none that have directly involved US residents before, let alone high-profile journalists coming out of self-imposed exile to seek assistance in the embassy. Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government — which is to say, the royal family — and a columnist for the Washington Post who lived in Virginia.
The Trump administration has thus far stressed that the Saudis are “innocent until proven guilty,” but have expressed little interest in finding out whether they are, in fact, guilty — much like in the case of recently-confirmed Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Reports from Turkish officials have been graphic in nature, and detailed a killing that was premeditated and whose intent may have in fact been known to the United States in advance.
Saudi officials have settled on the narrative of an “interrogation gone wrong,” but the details surrounding the mysterious killing include tools and preparations the Saudi team would not have undertaken and brought with them unless their intent was always to kill Mr. Khashoggi.
Trump’s own connection to Khashoggi, though not widely publicized, has been covered here at DC Tribune extensively, and began with Trump’s purchase of a yacht from Khashoggi’s uncle some 30 years ago.
Featured image via screen capture