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$100 Million Bribe? Saudi Sends Money To USA On The Day Pompeo Arrived To Talk About Khashoggi



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Oct 18 2018
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Initially, Trump promised “severe punishment” for Saudi Arabia if the United States determined that Saudi agents were responsible in the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But in a sudden twist, the U.S. president has since suggested an alternative theory – rogue killers, not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who had gotten the journalist killed.

 

The laughable U-turn became obvious when President Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressed confidence on Wednesday that the Saudi government could be “trusted” to investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of the Virginia-based Saudi journalist in Istanbul, Turkey – despite the likelihood that senior Saudi officials were involved.

 

The conventional wisdom was that the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara on Oct 2 was under the Saudi royal order to torture and butcher the journalist. The presence of Dr. Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, confirmed that the Saudi team wasn’t flown in just to do interrogation.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Now, the world may know the reason for the 180-degree U-turn by Trump. Apparently on Tuesday, the same day Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh to discuss the disappearance of Khashoggi, America received a payment of US$100 million from the kingdom. A State Department official reportedly confirmed the money transfer.

 

According to the New York Times, Saudi Arabia had actually promised the Trump administration the $100 million for American efforts to stabilize areas in Syria liberated from the Islamic State. However, that promise – made in August – did not include any concrete date as to when the money would come through.

 

Therefore, the timing of the transfer has raised questions about a potential payoff – or even a bribe – as Riyadh desperately seeks to manage the blowback over strong allegations that Saudi agents were under the crown prince’s order to ensure Khashoggi’s disappearance. It’s puzzling that Saudi suddenly found it important to pay when they could drag their feet.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The State Department, of course, has denied any connection between the US$100 million payment and Pompeo’s discussions with Saudi officials about Khashoggi. The U.S. official claimed the timing was a coincidence.  However, during Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he and the crown prince smiled for the cameras. That smile obviously was a dead giveaway.

 

Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, believed the timing of the money transfer likely sent a clear message to the Trump administration. He said – “In all probability, the Saudis want Trump to know that his cooperation in covering for the Khashoggi affair is important to the Saudi monarch. Much of its financial promises to the U.S. will be contingent on this cooperation.”

 

Khashoggi’s disappearance, widely reported as having been butchered and his body cut into pieces and dissolved with acid, has hurt the reputation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose close relationship with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has put him at the centre of the administration’s Middle East policy.

Poster - Free Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Now that it has been exposed the Saudi has paid US$100 million to the U.S., Western diplomats suspect that the kingdom will also compensate Turkey for its willingness to launch a joint investigation on Khashoggi’s disappearance – a payback that could come in the form of large-scale debt relief, strategic buyouts or other arrangements that boost Turkey’s ailing economy.

 

Pompeo’s visit to both Saudi Arabia and Turkey was seen as playing the role of a middleman so that everyone would emerge a winner. Trump’s defence of the House of Saud signalled a shift in White House strategy and suggested the administration has decided to help its most important ally in the Arab world defuse international outrage over the killing of Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident.

 

Regardless how ridiculous the excuses to be presented by the U.S. in its defence of the Saudi, it appears Khashoggi may be a casualty of harsh political realities. Pretending to deliver “severe punishment” for Saudi Arabia, President Trump has easily extracted US$100 million from the kingdom. More importantly, Saudi will be more indebted to Trump for saving its king-in-waiting.

Saudi Paid USA 100 Million - Trump - Saudi Flag

As the American’s pawn, it’s hard to see how Saudi dares to talk tough against Israel anymore. From now onwards, when Trump says jump, Saudi can only ask how high. King Salman will also have little choice but to agree to Trump’s ultimate deal of a Middle East peace plan that was crafted by Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner,

 

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