US, Saudi Tensions Rise Over Killing 10/21 10:43
ISTANBUL (AP) -- Saudi Arabia's crown prince "crossed a line" in the killing
of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and must pay a price, a leading U.S. Senate
Republican said Sunday, in a sign of growing tensions between the United States
and its Gulf ally.
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said
Saturday on CNN's "State of the Union" that he believed Mohammed bin Salman,
the Saudi royal known as MBS, was behind the killing of Khashoggi, who vanished
after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Pro-government media
in Turkey have reported that a hit squad traveled from Saudi Arabia to kill the
Saudi Arabia gave a different version of events on Saturday, saying
Khashoggi died in a "fistfight" in the consulate and that 18 Saudi suspects
were in custody and intelligence officials had been fired. Although officials
close to Prince Mohammed were targeted, Saudi Arabia stopped short of
implicating the heir-apparent of the world's largest oil exporter.
The Saudi account was met with widespread international skepticism and
allegations of a cover-up, as well as calls for an international investigation
led by a U.N.-appointed panel.
The crown prince has "now crossed a line and there has to be a punishment
and a price paid for that," Corker said on CNN. He also urged Turkey to turn
over purported recordings of Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul. The existence of such evidence has been reported in Turkish media in
a series of leaks, though Turkish officials have yet to confirm they have
"The Turks have been talking more to the media than they have us," Corker
said of the NATO ally.
Previously, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake had threatened tough
punitive action by Congress against Saudi Arabia, including a possible halt of
military sales, if it were confirmed that Khashoggi was indeed killed inside
the Saudi consulate. U.S. President Donald Trump had also talked about possibly
punishing Saudi Arabia, though said he didn't want to halt a proposed $110
billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm U.S.
Speaking late Saturday after a campaign rally in Nevada, Trump said he needs
to learn more about the killing and will be working with Congress on the U.S.
response. He also said he will talk soon to Prince Mohammed.
Trump initially said he believed the Saudi account. On Saturday, he said he
still does not know where Khashoggi's body is.
"We'd like to find out where it is and what happened... And I think we're
inching our way there," he said.