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Saudi Threatens To Weaponise Oil If The West Dares To Punish It Over Murder Of Khashoggi



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Oct 15 2018
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Had journalist Jamal Khashoggi been an ordinary Saudi critic, very few would care about his disappearance. After all, U.S. President Trump has publicly made it know his anti-Muslim stance even before his 2016 Presidential Election. Donald Trump has also made it know that he doesn’t really care about human rights, let alone climate change or global warming.

 

However, Khashoggi wasn’t just a Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh’s policies, but was also a U.S. resident. For now, it’s presumably he is already dead based on Turkey’s daring challenge to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to prove otherwise. Turkey has claimed that Khashoggi was murdered, tortured and his body cut into pieces, probably for easier disposal.

 

To back their allegations, Turkish officials claim to have audio and video evidence that shows missing Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish TV has already broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Mr. Khashoggi walked into the consulate for an appointment at which he was due to receive papers for his forthcoming marriage to Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

CCTV - Jamal Khashoggi Enters Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia Consultate in Istanbul

A 15-strong team – described as Saudi intelligence officers – has been identified by Turkish media as involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. Interestingly, the team that had flown to Istanbul on two private flights included forensics chief and autopsy expert. Khashoggi reportedly may have turned on the recording function of his Apple Watch before walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

 

Thanks to Apple, the moments of his “interrogation, torture and killing” were audio recorded and sent to both his phone and to iCloud. By the time Saudi torturers and killers noticed the watch, it was too late. Turkish investigators found the audio file inside the phone Khashoggi left with his fiancé. Well, at least that was the story published by a Turkish newspaper.

 

But even if Khashoggi hadn’t done all those James Bond stunts using his gadget, the Turks are believed to have the Saudi consulate wired. Chances are they have some sort of recordings to prove that Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi has maintained the journalist left the building but could not provide any proof that Mr. Khashoggi is still alive and kicking.

Apple Watch Recording - Jamal Khashoggi Murder

The West is caught between a rock and a hard place. It would scream hypocrisy at the highest level if they choose to close one eye to the gruesome murder of Khashoggi. When Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve toxin that had been left on the front door of their home in England, the West blames the Russia.

 

The UK, United States and other Western countries, including most member states of the European Union and NATO, expelled over 100 Russian diplomats. In August, the U.S. announced new export sanctions against the Russia’s government over the attempt poisoning. The disappearance of Saudi journalist Khashoggi is like a rerun of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

 

The difference is, the bad guy now is Saudi Arabia, the West’s strategic ally in the Middle East. Not only Saudi was Trump’s best friend, having decorated him like a Christmas tree with the gold King Abdulaziz medal during his visit to the kingdom last year, the U.S. was also gifted with military sales deal of about US$110 billion plus another US$350 billion over the next 10 years.

U.S. President Donald Trump Received Gold King Abdulaziz Medal

After the United Kingdom, France and Germany condemned and called for a “credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened”, and ensure those responsible are held accountable for the “disappearance”, Trump has threatened (or at least pretend to threaten) “severe punishment” if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate.

 

Trump has said the U.S. would be “very upset and angry” if the Saudi government was behind it and, in an interview with “60 Minutes”. However, the U.S. president also said Washington would be “punishing” itself if it halted military sales to Riyadh, suggesting that his administration would probably not too eager to punish Saudi the same way it did on Russia, if they can help it.

 

President Trump’s threat nevertheless saw Saudi stocks plunged as much as 7% on Sunday, its biggest drop since December 2014, when oil prices were crashing. Alarmed by possible sanctions, or dwindling inflows of foreign investment, the kingdom said on Sunday it would retaliate to possible economic sanctions taken by other nations over the case of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia Weaponise Oil - Turn Off

Obviously, there is only one weapon in Saudi possession which could wreck havoc to the global financial markets – OIL. By weaponising the black gold, the kingdom hopes to pressure Trump to back off from imposing economic sanctions which would cripple it. President Trump is pushing aggressively to take all Iranian oil off the market, and is relying on Saudi Arabia to keep its oil flowing.

 

Saudi knew that Trump would not act too aggressively and jeopardise the sealed weapon deal worth US$350 billion over the death of one journalist. They are betting Trump’s business sense will eventually get the better of him. Trump’s pussyfooting, however, could embolden other countries to take similar action against dissidents, if there were no reprisals from the West.

 

Already, international business community has started applying pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi. British tycoon Richard Branson said he’s pulling back from two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and has suspended discussions with Riyadh about a $1 billion investment in Virgin’s space companies.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - Smiling

Business leaders have also started pulling out of a key conference – “Davos in the Desert” – hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on October 23. Among the high-profile executives who have said they won’t attend the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative are J.P. Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Ford Motor’s Bill Ford and Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi.

 

Several US media organisations – the Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN, the New York Times, as well as reporters and editors from the Economist and CNBC have announced that they were no longer participating in the high-profile Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who was scheduled to speak at the conference, has also cancelled his attendance.

 

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