Trump, Saudi Arabia Trade “Severe Punishment” Threats Over Missing Journalist
Trump threatened Saudi Arabia with "severe punishment" if the Saudi government was involved in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
> "The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy..." the source added without elaborating.
> Saudi Arabia has been under pressure since Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a U.S. resident, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump, Saudis Escalate Threats
The Wall Street Journal reports Trump, Saudis Escalate Threats
> On Sunday, Riyadh vowed to retaliate against any punitive measures from Washington and delivered a pointed reminder that the world’s top oil exporter “plays an impactful and active role in the global economy.”
> The comments came after Mr. Trump pledged to impose “severe punishment” on Riyadh if an investigation implicates the kingdom in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
> Now relations are under scrutiny, and ties between Washington and Turkey, a regional competitor to the Saudis, could be improving. Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the U.S. is now on track to have “a terrific relationship with Turkey” after it agreed to free an American pastor, Andrew Brunson. While hosting the North Carolina pastor at the White House on Saturday, Mr. Trump repeatedly thanked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
> The case of Mr. Khashoggi is forcing the Trump administration to recalibrate on a number of issues, from military aid to sanctions to business ties. The private sector is also adjusting. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon will no longer attend Riyadh’s premier business conference set for later this month, bank spokesman Joe Evangelisti said Sunday.
> While the U.S. has been cautious not to make any public statements about the fate of Mr. Khashoggi while an investigation is under way, Mr. Trump said on Saturday that it is “not looking too good.” In an interview with “60 Minutes,” portions of which were broadcast Saturday, Mr. Trump said he would be “very upset and angry” if the allegations against Saudi Arabia concerning Mr. Khashoggi prove true, and vowed there would be consequences.
Everyone Wants In On the Action
The UK, France, and Germany issued a Joint Statement on the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
> Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France. In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose family has lost contact with him since October 2nd.
> Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.
Senator Durbin Opposes Saudi Arms Sale Over Missing Journalist
The Hill reports Senator Durbin Opposes Saudi Arms Sale Over Missing Journalist
> Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday that President Trump should end the United States's arms deal with Saudi Arabia over the country's apparent role in the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
> Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said in a statement Sunday that he spoke this weekend with Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, and told him that "he should expect a very negative response" if the country is complicit in Khashoggi's suspected death.
> "I told Ambassador bin Salman that he should expect a very negative response from both sides of the aisle in Congress if Mr. Khashoggi was in fact kidnapped and murdered. And if that is the case, I do not believe the U.S. should continue to be party to supporting the Saudis in the bloodshed in Yemen -- a halt that is long overdue given the humanitarian disaster resulting from that conflict," Durbin said.
Finally someone is talking about the US role in the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. But note the wishy-washiness of Durbin's statement.
What's with this "if that is the case" nonsense. The US should not support the war in Yemen in any case.
Oil and Political Feuds
$100 oil is just what we don't need. But that would happen, and then some, if Saudi Arabia stopped producing in response to Trump threats.
Light Crude Futures
So far, oil reaction has been minimal. For now, Wall Street dismisses the threat.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock