Saudi Arabia vows to retaliate after Trump vows ‘severe punishment’

Saudi Arabia vows to retaliate after Trump vows ‘severe punishment’

A combative Saudi Arabia said Sunday it would not bend to “threats” as it pushed back against growing U.S. and international pressure over allegations it is responsible for the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, threatening retaliation for any sanctions.

Censure of any kind would be met with “greater action” from Riyadh, it added, pointing out Saudi Arabia’s “vital role” in the world economy.  Trump promised “severe punishment” would follow if it is found that Saudi Arabia killed Khashoggi. 

Admonitions of the United States emanating from Saudi Arabia “bring into question the essential pillars that underpin U.S.-Saudi relations,” said Kristin Diwan, a scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “Saudi Arabia has a strategic value to the U.S. that comes from its reliability in managing oil markets and co-ordinating intelligence. If it can’t be trusted for this, then all bets are off.” 

After the Saudi government statement was released early Sunday, Turki Aldakhil, the general manager of the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news network, wrote in a column that “decision-making circles within the kingdom” were considering more than 30 potential measures in response to the threat of sanctions, including pricing oil in Chinese yuan rather than the dollar and allowing Russia to build a military base on Saudi soil. 

But later Sunday, Faisal bin Farhan, a senior adviser to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, wrote on Twitter that the column “in no way reflects the thinking of the Saudi leadership.” 

14 October 2018 -By Loveday Morris, Souad Mekhennet, Kareem Fahim(c) 2018, The Washington Post -ISTANBUL 

Trump sending Pompeo to meet with Saudi king DPA, 15th OCTOBER, 2018- US President Donald Trump said he is “immediately” dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman as outcry grows over the disappearance of missing Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Trump wrote on Twitter that he spoke to King Salman by telephone and that the Saudi ruler “denies any knowledge” of Khashoggi’s fate. 

Khashoggi, a sharp critic of the king’s son, influential Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get paperwork done so that he could marry his Turkish fiancee. 

Saudi authorities have rejected widespread claims he was killed inside. 

Reports in Turkish media said police would search the consulate on Monday as part of their investigation. 

At the weekend Trump threatened “severe punishment” if it was established that Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi, who lived in the US and wrote a column for the Washington Post.

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