Busi­ness as usual with Saudi Ara­bia is no op­tion for US or UK

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

Sal­man, didn’t know any­thing about it, af­ter they spoke on the phone for 20 min­utes.

Trump added he had no rea­son to dis­be­lieve them, be­fore then sug­gest­ing “rogue killers” could be re­spon­si­ble.

With worldwide con­dem­na­tion mount­ing, they then said Khashoggi died within the con­sulate af­ter what they claimed was a fist-fight.

Trump called the royal fam­ily’s ex­pla­na­tion cred­i­ble, never ap­pear­ing to ques­tion why a 59-year-old un­fit guy would de­cide to take on a dozen of Saudi’s elite spe­cial ops sol­diers who had gath­ered in­side in a brawl.

The new ac­count of­fered by the regime of King Sal­man and the Crown Prince was with­out a shred of cred­i­bil­ity and comes amid claims parts of the writer’s body in­clud­ing his dis­fig­ured face have been found in the grounds of the Saudi con­sul gen­eral’s home.

Trump was crit­i­cised on Tues­day when he passed re­spon­si­bil­ity to Congress for de­cid­ing what ac­tion to be taken as op­posed to an af­fir­ma­tive re­sponse from the White House.

The fact Trump would even dare say at the out­set the Saudi fist-fight story was be­liev­able ap­pears to em­pha­sise his re­luc­tance to pun­ish the Saudis prop­erly.

His re­fusal to scorn the ini­tial ac­counts is yet an­other wor­ry­ing ex­am­ple whereby what­ever a dic­ta­tor says, Trump be­lieves.

Al­ready we’ve seen him refuse to ac­cept Rus­sia med­dled in the 2016 US elec­tion af­ter Vladimir Putin de­nied it, and ac­cept that Kim Jong Un would end North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gramme.

The fact that Trump would even dare say the Saudi fist-fight story was be­liev­able ap­pears to em­pha­sise his shame­ful in­tent to as­sist in the at­tempt of the regime to avoid jus­tice and po­lit­i­cal ret­ri­bu­tion.

As he surely knew, the Saudi story, which he now con­cedes to be the “worst cover-up ever”, was con­tra­dicted not just by ev­i­dence col­lected by Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties and by jour­nal­ists, but also by his own in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

CIA of­fi­cials have lis­tened to an au­dio record­ing in the pos­ses­sion of Turks which, they say, backs up their ac­count that Khashoggi was killed min­utes af­ter en­ter­ing the con­sulate by a team of 15 men.

Five of the squad have been iden­ti­fied as prob­a­ble mem­bers of the crown prince’s per­sonal se­cu­rity de­tail.

The Saudis are a mur­der­ous regime, who, it is al­leged, helped fund the hi­jack­ers who car­ried out the Twin Tow­ers at­tack.

In fact, 15 of the 19 hi­jack­ers were from the coun­try, and yet Amer­ica still cosied up to the na­tion in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of 9/11.

The West has a his­tory of col­laps­ing be­fore the oil-rich Saudis and now world lead­ers ap­pear to be at it again.

Would Trump have been so quick to be­lieve the story if Khashoggi had been killed by those who don’t have bil­lion dol­lar deals with the US?

Un­til jus­tice pre­vails and we de­ter­mine the full truth about the Khashoggi mur­der, Saudi Ara­bia and its regime should be treated as out­laws by all who value hu­man rights and free ex­pres­sion.

Busi­nesses that with­drew this week from an in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in Riyadh, should con­tinue to shun con­tact with the prime sus­pect, the crown prince, while gov­ern­ments should block all arms sales and de­liv­er­ies.

In the mean­time, busi­ness as usual isn’t an op­tion for the US or UK gov­ern­ments which must stop rolling out the red car­pet for one of the world’s very worst abusers of hu­man rights.

> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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