By Josh Babb
By Josh Babb
Saudi Arabia, in response to increasing international and financial pressure to explain the disappearance of missing dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is threatening severe retaliation to any possible sanctions.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia’s direction under Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, while his fiancee waited outside.
He has not been seen or heard from since. On October 6, reports emerged that the Turkish authorities suspected Saudi Arabia killed Khashoggi inside the consulate. Some even speculated that Khashoggi had recorded part of the murder on his Apple Watch.
Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz wrote An article in the Washington Post on October 9 pleading with President Trump to fully investigate the case. Jamal Khashoggi was a regular contributor to the Post.
As pressure mounts for answers, business partners and global media, including CNN, announced they will no longer attend an investment conference scheduled for next week in Riyadh. The Washington Post reported last week that US senators are calling on President Trump to impose sanctions if Saudi Arabia is found responsible for Khashoggi’s suspected murder.
Saudi Arabia to lower oil production?
A press release issued by the government-owned Saudi Press Agency states, “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations.” This statement came as the Saudi stock exchange opened on Sunday with stocks plunging as much as 7 percent throughout the day’s trading.
In an opinion piece published on Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al Arabiya English, Turki Aldakhil elaborated further on what Saudi Arabia’s response could look like: “If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.”
The foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK released a joint statement on Sunday, October 14,calling for a credible investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance to identify those bearing responsibility and ensure they are held to account.
In the press release, the diplomats added, “We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities.”
UK foreign minister Liam Hunt has a scheduled meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Monday afternoon, in which he will likely delve further into the issue of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Donald Trump announced earlier today that he had spoken to King Salman about the issue. Analysts expect the President to send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the King in person soon.