Start News Saudis are said to have sought murder

Saudis are said to have sought murder

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Reports from the New York Times reveal incidents surrounding the Saudi royal family, which give new impetus to the Khashoggi murder case. According to the newspaper, intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed possible attacks on opponents. The talks are said to have taken place about a year before the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (Jamal Hashkuchi) – at a time when the prince’s political ascent began.

According to the New York Times, once again Ahmed al-Asiri, a confidant of Prince Mohammed, played a key role. General Asiri was until recently a vice secret service chief and adviser to the royal family, and he also co-responsible for the Saudi military operation in Yemen. And he was known for his crackdown on regime critics.

In March 2017, Asiri reported that it had met with small groups of business people in Riyadh to discuss sabotage threats to Iran’s economy. The economic warfare would have included sponsoring opposition figures and creating false accounts in social networks to provoke riots by false reports.
Iranian military in the sights

Asiri’s staff at the meeting asked their counterpart about their willingness to have murders committed by two Iranians; one of them was Kassim Soleimani, a high-ranking military of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. However, the businessmen, former intelligence agents, refused to cooperate in assassinations after consulting their lawyers. The sheet referred to the descriptions on three unnamed insiders.

The interest in killings, covert operations and military actions abroad was a political turnaround for the kingdom, which has so far avoided foreign adventure. The rise of the prince has resulted in a paradigm shift.

Call for punishment

As part of the scandal surrounding the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, General Asiri was dismissed as a vice secret service chief – presumably to take the Crown Prince out of the line of fire. For three weeks, Saudi Arabia had previously denied complications. Finally, Riyadh had to admit after increasing pressure from outside that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. According to the official account, he was killed in the course of a dispute in a „brawl“ with unnamed men. After that, 18 suspects were arrested. An order of killing by the crown prince always rejected Saudi Arabia vehemently.

Since then, Europe and the US have demanded the punishment of those responsible. On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed and said, according to his spokeswoman, that the US wants to hold to account all those involved in the killing of Khashoggi „and that Saudi Arabia must do the same“.

Recordings distributed to governments

Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had confirmed the existence of sound recordings of the murder. The recordings were forwarded to the governments of France, Germany, the UK, the US and Saudi Arabia, Erdogan said. „They’ve heard the conversations and know them.“ The operation was ordered from the highest levels of the Saudi government, Erdogan said.

What the recordings reveal, was not known. What is clear, however, is that Turkey is once again increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia. The US must soon decide how to deal with its ally Riyad in the case. US President Donald Trump discussed the situation with Erdogan this weekend. Trump wants to be clear over the week, according to the White House on a proper response from Washington.