Tuesday marked six months since Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Despite the immediate international outrage over the case, the U.S., a well-known Saudi ally, preferred to remain silent about the case, ignoring its own institutions' reports blaming the Saudi kingdom for the crime.
Publishing an article on the case yesterday titled "It's been six months since Jamal Khashoggi's murder, and Trump has done nothing," The Washington Post urged U.S. President Donald Trump to take action on the issue. "The dedicated professionals in our intelligence services have done their jobs. They investigated swiftly and thoroughly, concluding, with high confidence, that the crown prince was indeed behind Khashoggi's killing," the article said, referring to a CIA report.
The CIA concluded in October that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination of Khashoggi. However, Trump disputed the CIA report and told reporters: "The CIA points it both ways. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't," a phrase he had used in a controversial statement released on the incident. When the reporter asked who should be held responsible for the killing, Trump responded, "Maybe the world should be held accountable cause the world is a vicious place."
After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but denied that the royal family and the crown prince had any prior knowledge of or responsibility for Khashoggi's killing. The incident was blamed on lower-level officials, including five that are now facing the death penalty over their involvement. A Saudi public prosecutor said last week that they would seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 21 involved in the case. Ankara has said the statement is not satisfactory and demanded genuine cooperation from Riyadh.
"Congress is doing its job, too. On a bipartisan basis, it voted to withhold support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, investigated the U.S. response to the murder and moved to restrict the transfer of nuclear technology to the Saudi government," the report added.
Yet, when it comes to the Trump administration, the article pointed to the fact that silence surrounds the case as Trump has put on the brakes in terms of taking action against the Saudi government.
"White House officials have issued critical words and slaps on the wrist, but they've stopped short of imposing meaningful penalties. They have stonewalled and obfuscated, brushing aside the CIA's findings to continue business as usual with the crown prince," the article said. "Even after irrefutable evidence came to light showing the Saudis had lied about Khashoggi's death, Trump proclaimed Mohammed bin Salman a ‘great ally' and protested that the crown prince might well be innocent," the article pointed out, criticizing Trump for his support of MBS.
The article further stressed that yet another six months should not pass without action.
Saudi Arabia compensates
Saudi Arabia is compensating the children of Khashoggi for his murder, the newspaper also confirmed yesterday.
Each of the children was given houses in Jeddah worth as much as $4 million apiece as part of a preliminary settlement, and they are also receiving monthly payments, the Post reported.
It said the five-figure payments that Khashoggi's two sons and daughters were getting "are part of an effort... aimed in part at ensuring that they continue to show restraint in their public statements about the killing of their father."
The newspaper cited current and former Saudi officials as well as members of Khashoggi's family. "The delivery of homes and monthly payments of $10,000 or more to each sibling were approved late last year by King Salman as part of what one former official described as an acknowledgment that ‘a big injustice has been done' and an attempt ‘to make a wrong right,'" it said.
The children may also receive payments, up to tens of millions of dollars apiece, as part of "blood money" negotiations with the Saudi government, said the newspaper, adding that the Khashoggi siblings have refrained from "any harsh criticism" of the Saudi kingdom.
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