by Whitney Webb of Mint Press News
The disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post
columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to strain relations between the
United States and Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, President Donald Trump
warned the Saudis of “severe punishment” if the Saudi government was found to have been responsible for the journalist’s alleged murder.
The Saudi government has vocally
denied any involvement even though Khashoggi disappeared within the
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and responded to Trump’s threats by vowing
an even “stronger” response if the Gulf monarchy is ultimately targeted by the United States. The exchange of threats caused Saudi stocks to sustain their biggest one-day loss since 2016 when trading opened and has brought the upcoming three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Saudi Arabia much unwanted negative publicity.
However, there is considerable
evidence pointing to the fact that the U.S.’ response to the Khashoggi
affair is likely to be determined, not by any Saudi government
responsibility for Khashoggi’s fate, but instead whether or not the
Saudis choose to follow through with their promise to purchase the $15
billion U.S.-made THAAD missile system or it cheaper, Russia-made
equivalent, the S-400. According to reports, the Saudis failed to meet
the deadline for their planned THAAD purchase and had hinted in late
September that they were planning to buy the S-400 from Russia instead...
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