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Is a journalist’s life worth ending decades of good relations with Saudi Arabia? Yes.

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Is a journalists life worth ending decades of good relations with Saudi Arabia Yes

If the evidence Turkey claims to have against Saudi Arabia in the disappearance or murder of Jamal Khashoggi pans out, it is time to close the book on American-Saudi relations. We can still talk and work towards common goals, but no more selling weapons, no more defending their economic choices, no more favorable treatment. They should be classified the same way we classify other nations that are neither our allies or enemies.

To keep them as an ally betrays everything it means to be the United States of America.

For full disclosure, I’ve been an opponent to the standard U.S. policy of looking the other way when Saudi Arabia does something heinous since well before Khashoggi was allegedly murdered by them. From their treatment of women to their treatment of Jews and Christians to the fact that they’ve helped spread radical Islam to all corners of the earth, the Saudis have always been and will always be against the freedoms that Americans hold dear. We should not be selling them weapons any more than we should sell Iran weapons. Saudi Arabia is the opposite side of the same Islamic extremist coin as Iran. They’re just more adept at sweeping things under the rug until now.

Khashoggi held permanent residency in the United States and worked for a U.S. company. He may have been a Saudi citizen, but he was not charged, tried, and convicted of a crime. He was assassinated, likely because of his amplified voice through the Washington Post speaking out against a totalitarian regime that does not take kindly to dissidents.

Turkey claims they have irrefutable recordings, audio for certain and possibly video, from within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Let’s briefly put aside the alarming revelation that Turkey apparently bugs foreign consulates, which is worrisome to say the least. In this case, we’ll accept that they gained access to recordings through some means that may or may not have broken international law.

They have all the details, including the identities of the 15-man assassination team that allegedly captured, tortured, and killed Khashoggi. They know how it went down, have video evidence from outside the consulate, and now have recordings from inside the consulate that they claim prove the Saudis brutally murdered him.

If it’s true, the administration is caught between a rock and a hard place.

The rock is the fact that Saudi Arabia is second only to Israel as our most reliable and strategic partner in the Middle East. They’re the hedge that helps keep Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Hamas from overrunning the region. Without Saudi Arabia, our other allies in the Middle East would be further in harm’s way.

The hard place is the backlash that will come from these revelations. This is going to be a difficult debacle for the State Department to clean up, especially with bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill to get to the truth and dish out justice in some form or fashion. Some of the most conservative and most liberal in DC are unified in their desire to condemn Saudi Arabia for these actions.

The White House had hoped there was enough doubt that could be cast on the whole thing to prevent them from going after Saudi Arabia or explaining why they won’t. Every day, new evidence is emerging that’s shredding any hope for doubt. I put it at a 90% certainty that Saudi Arabia did it two days ago. Since then, the evidence that has come out puts me at a 99% certainty. They did it and they’re trying to cover it up.

Who is lying about Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey or Saudi Arabia?

http://noqreport.com/2018/10/10/lying-jamal-khashoggi-turkey-saudi-arabia/If I were to put percentages to the likelihood of guilt, it would be 90/10 that Turkey is telling the truth and Saudi Arabia is covering up an abduction and/or murder. Unfortunately, it’s not quite certain enough to dismiss Turkey altogether.

Today, I think we have enough certainty to act.

It’s time to rethink our relationship with Saudi Arabia. They won’t like it and there will be major repercussions, but it’s the right thing to do. If we don’t, what does that say about our desire for law and order?

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Foreign Affairs

Turkish-American relations aren’t better, just quieter than they were

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Turkish-American relations arent better just quieter than they were

President Trump said Saturday “we’re having a very good moment with Turkey.” The operative word in his statement was “moment.” In other words, relations can go south at any point, and they probably will very soon.

Diplomatic conflict with Turkey had been escalating for a year until very recently. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has balked at U.S. demands and made harsh statements about America’s foreign policy, particularly as they relate to Iran and Syria. He’s playing a game of brinkmanship, pushing his rhetoric and policies right to the edge before backing down.

Right now, he’s in his quiet mode. That likely won’t last long.

As Burak Bekdil noted at Gatestone, the list of problems between the United States and Turkey has not been reduced.

Turkey and US: Conflict Contained, Not Resolved

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13328/turkey-us-conflict-containedOnly three months ago Turkey and its NATO ally the United States had too many issues about which to disagree: They had major divergences over Syria; they had different views on Turkey’s plans to deploy the Russian-made S-400 air defense system on NATO soil; they had mutual sanctions on top government officials due to Turkey’s refusal to free Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical Christian pastor living in Turkey who faced bogus charges of terrorism and espionage; they had a potential U.S. decision to block delivery to Turkey of arms systems, including the F-35 stealth fighter; they had potential U.S. sanctions on a Turkish public bank; the U.S. had doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium; a Turkish boycott on U.S. electronics; major differences over Syrian Kurds; and Turkey’s persistent demands for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric who is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political nemesis, living in self-exile in Pennsylvania.

This could be a calm before the storm between the United States and Turkey. Both nations are pushing against each other, especially in reference to U.S. policy in the Middle East. The two NATO allies will be acting more like enemies very soon unless one or the other backs down.

That’s almost certainly not going to happen.

We must be very mindful of and cautious towards Erdogan. His lust for power is quickly manifesting as a desire to be the de facto leader of the Middle East Muslim world. To do that, he’ll need to turn America into a symbolic enemy for the whole region.

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Foreign Affairs

State Department denies claims MBS involved in Khashoggi killing

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State Department denies claims MBS involved in Khashoggi killing

Yesterday, reports were flying across the news wire that the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department issued a statement today denying the claim, stating no conclusion has been reached.

My Take

This is a lie. The State Department has seen and heard the mountains of evidence. The various cover stories put forth by the Saudi government have been hollow and debunked. They aren’t investigating further. They’re simply buying time and hoping other stories will help sweep this one under the rug.

Either MBS is so incompetent and disrespected that members of his own team went behind his back to murder someone, or he gave the order. The fact that Saudi Arabia wants us to buy the “rogue killer” is absolutely pitiful.

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Economy

Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

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Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — A meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea has highlighted divisions between global powers the U.S. and China and a growing competition for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on issues such as trade protectionism and reforming the World Trade Organization, making it likely their final statement Sunday will be an anodyne document.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and China’s President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday. Pence professed respect for Xi and China but also harshly criticized the world’s No. 2 economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.

In Port Moresby, the impact of China’s aid and loans is highly visible. But the U.S. and allies are countering with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states. The U.S. has also said it will be involved in ally Australia’s plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea.

On Sunday, the U.S., New Zealand, Japan and Australia said they’d work with Papua New Guinea’s government to bring electricity to 70 percent of its people by 2030. Less than 20 percent have a reliable electricity supply.

“The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger,” said Pence at a signing ceremony. A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the U.S. vision of a free and open Pacific.

China, meanwhile, has promised $4 billion of finance to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, among the least urbanised countries in the world.

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