The eyes of the world media are trained on the happenings in Istanbul, Turkey over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance which has put pressure on the U.S. to demand answers from its old-time ally Saudi Arabia.
As news keeps coming from Turkey of the diabolical manner in which Khashoggi who lived in the U.S. in self-imposed exile was entrapped in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, U.S. President Donald Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to demand answers.
However just hours later Trump himself spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as reports have said that the operation for Khashoggi was done at the behest of MBS. Trump then tweeted out that the crown prince "totally denied" any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
In his Tweet, Trump said the crown prince had told him the Saudis would rapidly expand an investigation into the matter. Answers will be coming "shortly", the president said.
Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate. He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
He also said later in the day, "Here we go again... You're guilty until proven innocent." Trump was referencing the recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court who was accused by multiple women of sexual assault.
BREAKING: Trump tells AP that Saudi Arabia being blamed for missing journalist is another case of "guilty until proven innocent."
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 16, 2018
This tweet came before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at their meeting "agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation that provides answers" over Khashoggi's disappearance.
According to a U.S. State Department statement, "The Secretary reiterated the President's concern with respect to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, as well as the President's desire to determine what happened," U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said of the meeting that took place in Saudi Arabia.
However, it is obvious since the news came of Khashoggi’s disappearance and the following events, that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance but was unprepared for the media storm. The statements coming since then are obvious delaying tactics.
And not everyone in the U.S. government is buying the denial coming from the palace in Riyadh. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is on the U.S. Armed Services Committee, told Fox News he is certain that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about an alleged Saudi operation to kill Khashoggi.
"I know this, nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without MBS knowing it...I think he's on a bad track. I can never do business with Saudi Arabia again until we get this behind us…That means I'm not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy's in charge.”
Asked if he feels if MBS should step aside, Graham said, "It's up to them, but I'm not going, I've been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate.”
"This guy is a wrecking ball, he had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it. I feel used and abused. I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because there’s a good ally.”
"There's a difference between a country and an individual. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage."
The senator who is a staunch supporter of the U.S. President ended with, "This guy has got to go. Saudi Arabia, if you are listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself."
Jamal Khashoggi and his apparent murder will show if the U.S. can walk the talk on being a defender of human rights and the onus is now on the U.S. president.