Khashoggi’s killing is threat to regional stability: Mattis

Khashoggi’s killing is threat to regional stability: Mattis

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MANAMA, Bahrain — The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
“undermines regional stability” and the U.S. State Department plans to
take further action in response to the killing, U.S. Defense Secretary
Jim Mattis said Saturday at an international conference in the Middle
East.

In remarks prepared for delivery, Mattis never mentioned Saudi Arabia
directly in connection with the Oct. 2 slaying of Khashoggi at the
kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. But he noted that Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo revoked visas of Saudis implicated in the killing of
the Washington Post writer, and he said additional measures will be
taken.

Turkish officials have said that a Saudi team of 15 men tortured, killed and dismembered the writer and in a premeditated act.
The kingdom initially said it knew nothing about what happened to
Khashoggi, but on Thursday said evidence shows that the killing was
premeditated.

Mattis in his speech made no move to directly blame Saudi and did not
refer to the calls from members of Congress to cut arms sales to Saudi
Arabia or impose sanctions on the kingdom. But his broader mention of
the matter toward the end of his speech underscores the serious national
security ramifications the incident poses for relations with a key U.S.
ally.

“With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for
human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic
facility must concern us all,” Mattis told international officials and
experts at the Manama Dialogue. “Failure of any nation to adhere to
international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at
a time when it is needed most.”

He added that he will continue to consult with President Donald Trump
and Pompeo as they consider the broader implications of the matter.

Still, Mattis’ speech also reflected the difficult dilemma this has
caused. In one section deeply critical of Iran, he referred to the
ongoing attacks on Saudi by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen.

“I reiterate U.S. support for our partners’ right to defend
themselves against Iranian-supplied Houthi attacks on their sovereign
territory, and at the same time call for an urgent end to the fighting,”
Mattis said.

Others in the U.S., however, have condemned the Saudis for what has
been called indiscriminate bombings that have slaughtered civilians.
Mattis and others, meanwhile, have said the U.S. is providing key
support to the Saudi-led coalition, and that the assistance is helping
the kingdom improve its targeting.

see also

Saudis now admit Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was planned

The U.S. he said, wants to continue to build the capacity of the
Yemeni security forces who are batting the Houthis in a brutal civil
war.

Mattis also later talked about America’s shared interests with its
Arab and Israeli partners, adding that “our respect for the Saudi people
is undiminished.”

But, he cautioned that respect “must come with transparency and trust.”

Saudi Arabia’s slow shift to reveal more details about the killing
also reflects the kingdom’s acknowledgement that the killing could have a
serious diplomatic, and possibly economic impact.

Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for the past year
and wrote editorial columns for The Washington Post that were critical
of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s heir apparent.
He lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly a year
before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed’s crackdown
on dissent.

More broadly, Mattis’ speech Saturday, focused on regional cooperation and the U.S. commitment to the Middle East.

He repeated his frequent criticism of Iran’s “outlaw regime,” which
has fueled insurgencies in Yemen and Iraq, backed Syrian President
Bashar Assad’s brutal government and fostered proxy terrorists across
the region.

And he made clear that the U.S. commitment to the region outpaces any
presence by Russia, which he said lacks essential moral principles.

Source: https://nypost.com

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