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Google Pulls Out Saudi Business Conference Amid Missing Journalist Scandal

16 October 2018

President Trump's suggestion that "rogue killers" may be responsible for Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance suggests he may let Saudi Arabia off the hook for another violation, said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

Saudi officials are expected to claim that the mission was initiated to interrogate Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the government, not to kill him.

The United States and Saudi Arabia are now discussing the measures that can be taken if it turns out journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents while visiting the country's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. The New York Times reported that the Saudi royal court would soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom's intelligence services - who happened to be a friend of Prince Mohammed - had carried out the killing. The report was attributed to two unnamed sources.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was dispatched to Riyadh, while in Istanbul, a team of investigators searched the consulate.

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"I sounded to me like maybe there could have been rogue killers". Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's state news agency has released a slew of statements from allies in the region supporting the kingdom amid global outrage over its suspected role in the disappearance and possible death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have told reporters that they believe Khashoggi was very likely killed or abducted within hours of his arriving at the consulate. A team arrived by unmarked police cars at the consulate but said nothing to journalists waiting outside as they entered the building.

Khashoggi was a United States resident and wrote for The Washington Post, splitting his time among Virginia, London, and Istanbul since leaving Saudi Arabia.

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He will later visit Turkey, where Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Mr Trump has said his administration won a $110 billion military order from Saudi Arabia and that the deal, combined with Saudi commitments to invest heavily in the United States, was worth hundreds of thousands of USA jobs.

The furor over Khashoggi has dealt a serious setback to Prince Mohammed's aggressive pitch for the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

"It would lead to Saudi Arabia's failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels".

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While lurid claims have appeared in Turkish media - including that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered - Turkey's leadership has so far refrained from pointing the finger directly at Riyadh in public comments.

Pointing out that Russia and China were ready to step in, he added that "no one can deny that repercussions of these sanctions will include a Russian military base in Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia, in the heated four corners of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq".

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Google Pulls Out Saudi Business Conference Amid Missing Journalist Scandal