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Is the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi?


Following recent revelations about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

„I have read all intelligence information owned by the United States Government,“ Pompeo told CNN on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday. „There is no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.“ Previously, the Wall Street Journal, citing intelligence sources, reported suspicious news written by the heir to the throne at the time of the murder.

Crown Prince Mohammed is suspected of knowing or even ordering Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. The Washington Post columnist, who was living in exile in the US, had only wanted to pick up documents for his wedding, but was expected by a Saudi killer squad. This has now been admitted by Riyadh, but claims that the powerful Mohammed bin Salman did not know about it. US President Donald Trump had made it clear that he was aware that he did not want to jeopardize the partnership and dealings with Saudi Arabia, including in the armaments sector.

Pompeo said, „It remains an important relationship and we aspire to maintain that relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.“ Asked whether US intelligence agency CIA had concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed was likely involved in the murder, Pompeo said, „I can not comment on intelligence or CIA conclusions.“

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that the CIA had found in previously unpublished documents with „moderate to high“ certainty that the Crown Prince had „probably ordered“ Khashoggi’s death. But there was no direct evidence that the Crown Prince had issued a killing order.

The newspaper reported, citing these CIA documents, that the Crown Prince had sent several messages to a close confidant who had steered the killing squad for Khashoggi. Specifically, it was about at least eleven messages he had sent in the hours before and after the murder of his personal adviser Saud al-Kahtani.

The content of the news was not known to the CIA. The form in which they were sent does not appear from the documents. „We consider it very unlikely that this team (…) did the operation without the authorization of Mohammed bin Salman,“ the Wall Street Journal quoted from the CIA documents.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again called for a clarification of the case at the G20 summit. He criticized the „contradictions and lies“ in the official Saudi presentation of the case. Crown Prince Mohammed also participated in the G20 summit in Argentina. On Sunday morning, the only 33-year-old South America left, according to the Saudi state news agency Spa toward Algeria, where he was expected in the evening after a stopover in Mauritania for a two-day visit.