Trump vows ‘se­vere pun­ish­ment’ if Khashoggi killed

● Turkey says Saudi must co-op­er­ate with probe, al­low ac­cess to con­sulate

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a CBS in­ter­view yes­ter­day that there would be “se­vere pun­ish­ment” for Saudi Ara­bia if it turns out that miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

Trump said he did not want to block mil­i­tary sales to Saudi Ara­bia, one op­tion that has rat­tled US de­fence con­trac­tors, say­ing, “I don’t want to hurt jobs.”

Khashoggi, a prom­i­nent critic of Riyadh and a US res­i­dent who wrote col­umns for the Wash­ing­ton Post, dis­ap­peared on Oc­to­ber 2 af­ter vis­it­ing the con­sulate. “We’re go­ing to get to the bot­tom of it and there will be se­vere pun­ish­ment,” Trump said.

Asked whether Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hamed bin Sal­man gave an order to kill Khashoggi, Trump said, “No­body knows yet, but we’ll prob­a­bly be able to find out.” Trump added in ex­cerpts of the 60 Min­utes in­ter­view that will air to­day, “We would be very up­set and an­gry if that were the case.”

Trump said there was much at stake with Khashoggi case, “maybe es­pe­cially so” be­cause he was a re­porter.

Ma­jor US de­fence con­trac­tors have ex­pressed con­cern to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion that law­mak­ers an­gered by Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance will block fur­ther arms deals with Riyadh.

But Trump said he did not want to lose mil­i­tary sales to Saudi Ara­bia that are cov­eted by US com­peti­tors Rus­sia and China, also ex­porters of mil­i­tary equip­ment.

“I don’t want to lose an order like that,” he said, men­tion­ing the com­pa­nies Boe­ing, Lock­heed and Raytheon. “And you know what, there are other ways of pun­ish­ing,” he said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Turk­ish sources have told Reuters the ini­tial as­sess­ment of the po­lice was that Khashoggi was de­lib­er­ately killed in­side the con­sulate.

Riyadh has dis­missed the claims.

Mean­while, Turk­ish Foreign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said that Saudi Ara­bia must co-op­er­ate with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the dis­ap­pear­ance of Khashoggi and let Turk­ish of­fi­cials en­ter its con­sulate.

Cavu­soglu spoke to re­porters dur­ing a visit to Lon­don, af­ter a del­e­ga­tion from Saudi Ara­bia ar­rived in Turkey for a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

“We have not yet seen co­op­er­a­tion on this sub­ject and we want to see it,” Cavu­soglu said in the com­ments, which were broad­cast on Turk­ish tele­vi­sion.

Turk­ish news­pa­per Sabah re­ported yes­ter­day that Turkey’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Khashoggi’s fate af­ter he en­tered the Saudi con­sulate re­vealed record­ings made on his Ap­ple Watch pur­port­edly in­di­cat­ing he was tor­tured and killed.

How­ever, it was not clear whether data from Khashoggi’s watch could have been trans­mit­ted to his phone out­side, or how in­ves­ti­ga­tors could have re­trieved it with­out ob­tain­ing the watch them­selves.

Tech­nol­ogy ex­perts say it is highly un­likely the watch could have recorded ac­tions in­side the em­bassy and up­loaded them to an iCloud ac­count.

Most mod­els of the watch re­quire that it be within 30 to 50ft (9-15m) of the iPhone it is paired with to up­load data to Ap­ple’s iCloud, they said.

Even newer mod­els that can com­mu­ni­cate with the cloud di­rectly via wire­less re­quire either con­nec­tion to a nearby Wi-Fi net­work or a type of cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion that is not avail­able in Turkey, the ex­perts said.

Ap­ple Watch does not un­lock with a fin­ger­print, which the Sabah re­port said Saudi agents used to ac­cess the de­vice, and it does not in­clude a record­ing ca­pa­bil­ity by de­fault, the ex­perts said.

Ap­ple Inc de­clined to com­ment on the Sabah story.

Mean­while Prince Mo­hamed’s big Oc­to­ber con­fer­ence – the Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive dubbed by me­dia as the “Davos in the Desert” af­ter the an­nual con­fer­ence in the Swiss re­sort – has suf­fered a litany of can­cel­la­tions over the con­tro­versy.

Key busi­ness fig­ures like the chief ex­ec­u­tive of ride hail­ing app Uber – into which the Saudi’s own in­vest­ment fund in­jected money – are no longer show­ing up while me­dia groups like the New York Times, Fi­nan­cial Times and Bloomberg have pulled their spon­sor­ship.

US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin said yes­ter­day that he still planned to at­tend, as did IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde although she said she was “hor­ri­fied” by the case.

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