Saudi Arabia cannot restore global reputation: report

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Saudi Arabia should not be allowed to resume normal relations with the rest of the world until the kingdom "puts on more than a show of change" after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post's Editorial Board said in an opinion piece.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been widely criticized after the killing of Khashoggi, a contributor for The Post, in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. After the Saudi government initially denied responsibility, it switched its story a few times before blaming the murder on a botched rendition operation.

"The 33-year-old crown prince has suppressed real and perceived opponents with a brutality that is unprecedented in Saudi history, culminating in the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi," the editorial board said Saturday.

The international community refused to accept the Saudis’ claim that the incident was not a premeditated murder.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, is leading an international inquiry into the killing of Khashoggi.

"The regime promised accountability for the Khashoggi killing, but in practice continues to stonewall," the board wrote. "Special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, this last week was denied access to the crime scene at the Saudi Consulate when she visited Istanbul."

The Post outlined the measures taken by the country to try and restore its international reputation, including the release of one of the most prominent businessman it detained, Amr Dabbagh, as well as staging an investment conference seeking $426 billion in private investment, and bringing in singer Mariah Carey to perform a concert.

"The objective here is clear: to resume normal commerce between Saudi Arabia and the democratic world, and attract desperately needed investment, without meaningful change in the regime controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It’s in the interest of the United States and its allies, as well as Saudi Arabia itself, that this strategy fail," the board wrote.

The Post said that in the midst of everything happening in Saudi Arabia, U.S. President Donald Trump seems to be fine with it. However, if Trump continues to normalize relations with the kingdom and bin Salman after the killing of Khashoggi, it will have "bad long-term consequences."

"Mohammed bin Salman’s apologists frequently speak of the need to preserve 'stability' in the kingdom. But it is unstable now, and becoming more so. The best way to foster genuine equilibrium is for Western governments, investors and entertainers to shun the regime until it puts on more than a show of change," the board wrote.

Russia offered DPRK nuclear plant in secret: report

             By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Russian officials secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant to relieve deadlock negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.</p>  <p>U.S. officials told the newspaper Russia made the offer in exchange for North Korea dismantling its entire nuclear arsenal and facilities, a move that would allow Moscow to operate a nuclear facility in the Korean peninsula.</p>  <p>&quot;The Russians are very opportunistic when it comes to North Korea, and this is not the first time they’ve pursued an energy stake in Korea,&quot; Victor Cha, a former White House staffer told The Post.</p>  <p>The deal outlines that Russia would control and operate the plant, and also return all byproducts and waste to Moscow, which would alleviate the risk Pyongyang would use it to develop nuclear weapons.</p>  <p>The Post noted it is still unclear how U.S. President Donald Trump would react to such a deal, due to his unconventional approach to dealings with Russia.</p>  <p>After a months-long delay in negotiations, a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was finally announced for the end of February.</p>  <p>&quot;Time will tell what will happen with North Korea, but at the end of the previous administration, relationship was horrendous and very bad things were about to happen. Now a whole different story,&quot; Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday. &quot;I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un shortly. Progress being made-big difference!&quot;</p>  <p>However, a U.S. intelligence assessment released Tuesday refuted Trump's outlook on negotiations, saying that North Korea is &quot;unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities.&quot; 

Half of Americans have no confidence in Trump: poll

             By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Forty-eight percent of Americans say that they have no confidence &quot;at all&quot; in U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a poll released Monday. </p>  <p>The poll by ABS News and The Washington Post suggested 64 percent of Americans do not have trust in Trump to make the right decisions for the country.</p>  <p>While the study found Trump was doing unfavorably amongst Americans, respondents showed they had little confidence in Democrats or Republicans in Congress.</p>  <p>Thirty-four percent have either a &quot;great deal&quot; or &quot;good amount&quot; of confidence in the Democrats in Congress, and 30 percent said the same for Republicans.</p>  <p>The poll also suggested 35 percent of Americans had some confidence in Trump, with 21 percent saying they had what was considered a &quot;great deal&quot; of confidence.</p>  <p>Trump's personal image has taken a toll in the two years he has been in office as well. Thirty-two percent of Americans view him favorably as a person, while 59 percent unfavorably, according to the poll. That is just two points above former President Bill Clinton's record low favorability rating before he was impeached.</p>  <p>The poll also noted Trump has been doing less than favorably when it comes to policy issues.</p>  <p>When the ABC News-Washington Post poll was conducted in January 2017, half of respondents said they expected Trump to do a &quot;excellent/good job&quot; fixing the country's budget deficit, however, the number of respondents that say that in Monday's poll has fell to 33 percent.</p>  <p>The poll was conducted between Jan. 21-24, in the midst of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history; 1,001 adults were polled with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

US senate should insist on reshaping Saudi ties: report

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. Senate set itself on a path that went further than condemning the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, driven by President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that the responsibility lay with the Saudi crown prince, The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote Monday.</p>  <p>Trump has been mindful of defending the Saudis, not wanting to risk $450 billion in Saudi investments he claims are being offered, which include $110 billion in arms purchases. The actual figures are dubious, by many accounts.</p>  <p>&quot;His preoccupation with deals raises the question of whether he has his own businesses in mind; since his election, the Saudis have been major patrons of Trump hotels,&quot; the Post said. </p>  <p>Trump, however, was given a reminder that the Saudis would rather pursue their own interests when they attempted to increase oil prices earlier this month, despite calls by Trump to not do so.</p>  <p>&quot;Mr. Trump’s vintage-1980s view of the kingdom is contradicted by the 2018 fact that the United States, as the world’s largest crude oil producer, is less dependent than ever on the Middle East for energy,&quot; the newspaper wrote. &quot;Saudi Arabia has so far failed to move the oil price and cannot seriously threaten U.S. supplies.&quot;</p>  <p>Senators offered a bi-partisan effort earlier this month to rebuke Trump's policy of letting Khashoggi's killing go, passing a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which uncovered an understanding of not only the value of America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, but also the value of Washington's relationship with other despotic leaders around the world.</p>  <p>Khashoggi's murder helped the U.S. pay more attention to other regimes that are &quot;taking their repression global.&quot;</p>  <p> A writer from the Post, David Ignatius, argued that Saudi's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, adopted this method of abduction and murder from Russia and China.</p>  <p>&quot;The larger truth is that, with Mohammed bin Salman as its de facto ruler, the kingdom has become a strategic liability to the United States,&quot; the Post wrote.</p>  <p>Now, the Senate must push to show Saudi Arabia that the U.S. will not accept a relationship with just anyone, according to the newspaper.</p>  <p>&quot;The Senate was right to repudiate that poisonous and self-defeating doctrine. Now it should insist that relations with Saudi Arabia be reshaped to reflect a genuinely realistic assessment: that the United States does not need and should not sustain a relationship with the reckless tyrant who rules it,&quot; the Post added, calling for the end to bin Salman's rule over the kingdom.

Khashoggi's daughters vow to keep his legacy alive

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – While Jamal Khashoggi was a complex man, to his daughters, he was simply known as "Dad".

In an opinion piece published Friday in The Washington Post, Noha Khashoggi and Razan Jamal Khashoggi shared memories of their father.

For the sisters, life growing up included visits to countless museums and historical sites, reflecting their parents’ love of knowledge. They also recalled staying up nights wondering what their father was doing on one of his many trips abroad, “trusting that no matter how long he was gone, we would see him again, wide-armed, waiting for a hug”.

“As bittersweet as it was, we knew from a young age that Dad’s work meant that his reach extended far beyond our family, that he was an important man whose words had an effect on people over a great distance.”

Noha and Razan also wrote about the pride they had in their father's work and said they "understood the awe and grandeur with which some people viewed him".

"Dad certainly had a pragmatic side, but in his dreams and ambitions, he was always striving for a utopian version of reality," they said.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

With the world watching, the Saudi administration initially said he had left the consulate alive until admitting weeks later that he was killed there.

The two sisters recounted the days after their father was first reported missing and how the family had visited his home in Virginia.

"The hardest part was seeing his empty chair. His absence was deafening. We could see him sitting there, glasses on his forehead, reading or typing away."

"This is no eulogy, for that would confer a state of closure. Rather, this is a promise that his light will never fade, that his legacy will be preserved within us," they wrote.

"We feel blessed to have been raised with his moral compass, his respect for knowledge and truth, and his love.

"Until we meet again in the next life."

Nobel laureate calls for end to war in Yemen

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – The war in Yemen must come to an end, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must be held accountable for the destruction they caused, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Wednesday.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, wrote that the war has caused massive damage to Yemen’s infrastructure and has left millions on the verge of starvation and famine.

"Why have the Saudis and their allies refused to allow the legitimate government to return to the liberated territories?" Karman wrote. "Why have Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the wealthiest countries in the world, allowed this humanitarian crisis to continue?"

Meanwhile, Yemen has been blockaded by land, air and sea, and there have been "massacres against civilians" in markets, refugee camps, hospitals and schools.

"The path to ending the war is clear. First, the United States and other countries must cease arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE," Karman wrote.

Neither the UN Security Council nor the western backers of the Saudi-led coalition have questioned the logic behind the conflict, she said.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Tens of thousands of people — including numerous Yemeni civilians — are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has left much of the country’s basic infrastructure in ruins.

The UN currently estimates that around 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine, and using data provided by the UN, the rights group Save the Children concluded that 85,000 children in Yemen under the age of five have died from hunger.

Karman also said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi could create "global awareness" about Saudi Arabia and bring attention back to the crisis in Yemen.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later that he was killed there.

The Nobel laureate also noted that the Houthis “must be compelled to cease their destructive behavior”.

"Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Houthis must be told with one voice: Enough is enough," Karman added.

Turkey gives list of 84 FETO members to US: Cavusoglu

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has given the United States a list of 84 members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that it wants American authorities to extradite, said the nation's foreign minister.

Speaking to Turkish reporters at Ankara's embassy in Washington, Mevlut Cavusoglu said he delivered the list to his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, and White House national security adviser John Bolton.

Earlier, Cavusoglu and Pompeo held a 45-minute meeting at the State Department, where they discussed bilateral and regional issues as well as the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Turning to Khashoggi's killing, Cavusoglu said there are unanswered questions and Turkey is insisting that details regarding the murder be clarified, including who ordered Khashoggi's murder.

"Many countries do not want to harm their relations with Saudi Arabia because of the Khashoggi murder. Neither do we. However, the murder must be uncovered," he said.

Cavusoglu added that Turkey does not view the Khashoggi incident as a political matter.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After initially saying he left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later that he was killed there.

US has leverage on Saudis to reveal Khashoggi case: NYT

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – A month and a half after the Jamal Khashoggi's killing, punishments were handed to some individuals responsible, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has walked away unscathed, The New York Times said Friday.

In an opinion piece, The Times wrote that with the Saudi public prosecutor seeking the death penalty against five of the suspects involved in the crime, and the U.S. imposing sanctions on the 17 suspects involved, Washington seems to be ready to buy the latest narrative provided by the Saudis.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

With the world watching, after initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there.

Investigation of the incident suggests a special hit squad came to the consulate, scouted out Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest, and tried to cover up evidence at the consulate building.

The international community refused to accept the Saudis’ claim that the incident was not a premeditated murder.

"Whether the latest version will put the Khashoggi issue to rest remains to be seen," The Times said.

Turkey does not seem to buy the latest narrative provided by the Saudis, and has been putting pressure on the kingdom.

"I want to say that I find some explanations [of the prosecutor’s office] unsatisfying," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a conference. "We find the steps taken positive but inadequate."

The newspaper noted that while the U.S. has supported many despotic regimes in the past, bin Salman's rule in Saudi Arabia has pushed too far on a number of issues, including the war in Yemen, blockading Qatar, and detaining Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"Through most of his misrule, Prince Mohammed continued to enjoy the favor of President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner," The Times said. "They saw the young prince as an ally, along with Israel, against Iran, and as a buyer of limitless American arms."

The newspaper argued that the U.S. now has leverage over the Saudis, and they must use this leverage to reveal the truth about how Khashoggi died, end the war in Yemen, repair its relations with Qatar, stabilize oil prices and possibly "replace the crown prince with a less impulsive and dangerous heir."

"Any such demands, however, would be hypocrisy if not accompanied by an end to the kingdom’s brazen flouting of fundamental human rights," The Times added. "These did not begin with the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, but that’s where they, and American complicity, must end."

Khashoggi's fiancée shocked over new death details

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi expressed shock and sadness Thursday upon hearing the latest reports on his killing.

"I'm unable to express my sorrow to learn about [the] dissolving [of] your body Jamal! They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as [you] wished,” said Hatice Cengiz in a post on her Twitter account.

"Are these killers and those behind it human beings? Oh my God!"

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.

After announcing he was killed, Saudi Arabia has yet to reveal the location of Khashoggi’s body.

Iran to exploit Khashoggi killing: Johnson

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – If the killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi evade justice, Iran will exploit the consequences, a member of Britain’s Parliament said Thursday.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary of the UK, said he believes Khashoggi's death was orchestrated by the "highest levels of the Saudi regime".

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After shifting narratives, the Saudi government admitted that he had been killed, yet still have not disclosed the whereabouts of his body.

"My awful suspicion — and I pray I am wrong — is that for one reason or another, the killers, or at least those who ultimately gave the order, may get away with it," Johnson said.

He noted that many “powerful people” throughout the world fear a destabilized Saudi government would wreak havoc on the Middle East, and most leaders would prefer the issue to be “brushed under the carpet".

Johnson then went on to say that in the midst of the Khashoggi affair, the world should focus on Iran, and its influence in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen needs to be checked.

He added that Iran was responsible for its share of exploiting policies laid out by the West, including fueling the Houthi rebels against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"The war in Yemen is turning out to be bad for Saudi Arabia — and, alas, is boosting, not reversing, Iranian influence," Johnson said.

"The murder of Khashoggi has been terrible for Saudi Arabia," he said. "And if there is one way to boost Iran, and all regional critics of the Saudi regime, it would be to hush it all up."