Khashoggi affair: Europe (and USA) demand news. Riyadh threatens retaliation
London, Paris and Berlin hope for an in-depth investigation that will clarify the fate of the Saudi intellectual. World companies boycott the trade fair wanted by Mbs. The Saudis reject the accusations and threaten economic and commercial responses, above all on oil.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The international community - led by the United Kingdom, Germany and France - hopes for an in-depth investigation and certain answers on the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, critical voice of Riyadh and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (Mbs). These requests and pressures infuriate the Wahhabi kingdom, which is threatening retaliation and very harsh responses against those who advance criticisms or suspicions of the monarchy’s involvement in the complex affair.
There has been no news of Khashoggi since October 2, when he entered the Saudi diplomatic representation in Istanbul to obtain documents necessary for a divorce. According to Turkish sources, through his smartwatch [which he kept on his wrist, unlike the phone seized at the entrance] he recorded (and sent) some audio files confirming the violence suffered by a commando from Riyadh sent to execute him.
The Saudi government strongly rejects all charges and threatens [diplomatic and economic] retaliations against countries that launch unfounded accusations (according to Riyadh). Every action, says a source of the executive, "will trigger an even greater response". In a second moment the kingdom seemed to use a more conciliatory tone and, through its embassy in Washington, thanks the states that "so far have not drawn hasty conclusions".
Meanwhile, the leaders of London, Berlin and Paris are calling for a "credible investigation" on the disappearance of the Saudi dissident journalist, one of Riyadh's most critical voices who was forced to flee abroad a year ago. The foreign ministers of the three countries have emphasized that in case of ascertainment of responsibility, the authors must be punished with the utmost severity.
The request for a "clarification" from Riyadh also comes from Europe, to understand if the Saudi government has played a role (and which, if any) in the affair. "None of us know what happened, - underlines the British minister Jeremy Hunt - but we are all extremely concerned about the stories that have emerged, and the country that can help us get to the bottom of this is Saudi Arabia If, as they say, this terrible murder didn't happen, then where is Jamal Khashoggi? That's what the world wants to know".
The note from the European countries follows the announcement made a few hours earlier by US President Donald Trump, who promised "harsh punishments" for Saudi Arabia should they emerge responsible in the Khashoggi affair. Diplomatic sources say US Treasury Minister Steve Mnuchin and British international trade colleague Liam Fox may not attend the upcoming international conference on investment and trade in Riyadh, an appointment strongly supported by Crown Prince Mbs, in the context of the development plan and reforms (often only for show) Vision 2030.
Several international companies and leading brands have already canceled their presence in protest. These include the international magnate Richard Branson of Virgin, and Uber. In response media and personalities close to the government of Riyadh threaten very hard answers in the event of an economic boycott. Turki Aldakhil, director general of Saudi satellite channel Al Arabiya, says that imposing sanctions on the main oil exporting countries in the world will have disastrous effects. President Trump, he adds, already critical for oil at $ 80 a barrel will certainly not be happy - using a euphemism - for prices touching 100 or $ 200.