The Debate - Trump Humiliating Saudi Arabia

MBS Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide about Jamal Khashoggi

Khashoggi, a former government adviser who went into self-imposed exile in the USA a year ago to avoid possible arrest, has been critical of some of the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

But bin Salman downplayed Trump's remarks, saying "you have to accept that any friend will say good things and bad things". Khashoggi is, however, the first Saudi national whose arrest - if that is indeed what has happened - appears to have taken place in a country that is neither a Gulf neighbour nor a close ally.

The rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that it did not dismiss the possibility that Khashoggi's sudden disappearance was an attempt to silence the writer.

"If Saudi authorities surreptitiously detained Khashoggi it would be yet another escalation of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's reign of repression against peaceful dissidents and critics", HRW's Middle East and North Africa director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement late on Thursday.

Last week Trump asked at a rally "when you have wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia, like Japan, like South Korea, why are we subsidising their military?" This has put U.S. arms sales to the Saudis under growing scrutiny. The US President made the comments while addressing a rally in MS on Tuesday.

Supporters of journalist Jamal Khashoggi gathered outside the Saudi consulate in Turkey's largest city on Friday to demand answers about his whereabouts. As details begin to transpite, it turns out the September 30 meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah has sowed more confusion than settled discrepancies between the two nations. You might not be there for two weeks without us. So, we did our job and more.

Trump has been increasing his pressure on Saudi Arabia over rising oil prices.

The Crown Prince said Riyadh has paid for all weapons bought from the U.S. Yet a coalition of producers from OPEC and beyond has recently boosted output by 1.5 million barrels a day, double the 700,000-barrel decline suffered so far by Iran, according to the crown prince.

"Actually, we will pay nothing for our security", the prince firmly stated, explaining that since Trump's statements were clearly addressed to a domestic audience he did not find them offensive.

Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer with significant spare capacity on hand to supply the market if needed. "The Kuwaiti side, they want to fix it today, before we continue to produce in that area", he said.

Lebanese media say Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi who is suspected to have disappeared in Turkey's Istanbul has been flown to Riyadh.

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