RNA - This is what some of the European governments are saying. France, Germany and Britain have all condemned the murder and now want some answers from Riyadh.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, when asked whether France could act like Germany, which has said it wants to stop arms exports to the kingdom while uncertainty over Khashoggi's death persists, says any response would come after the truth has been established.
This is while British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt says it is not credible for Saudi authorities to claim that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight. “The claim that Khashoggi died in a fight does not amount to a credible explanation,” Hunt says, adding that any British response to the case will need to wait for the outcome of an investigation.
But the evidence is out there, the CCTV footages, voice recorders, Saudi admission as well as the lies they said in order to hide the gruesome murder of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The journalist was killed under a direct order from the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He and the regime in Riyadh need to be held to account and the least the European could do is suspend their military trainings and huge weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which they know are being used in the ongoing war against Yemen.
Germany has already expressed the intention of stopping exports, with Chancellor Angela Merkel making the announcement to reporters in Berlin this week: “I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they cannot take place in the current situation.”
Indeed, Western governments cannot downplay the issue. The top exporters of arms to Saudi Arabia face mounting pressure over their sales to Riyadh and for their support in the Saudi war on Yemen. They have issued a joint statement condemning the killing of journalist as unacceptable. But they are yet to announce an arms freeze.
This is not about “overreact”. This is about accountability under International Human Rights Law - even though Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab says that Britain would not "overreact" and is “not throwing our hands in the air” because thousands of jobs depend on relations with Riyadh.
The countries that claim they always protect human rights are expected to at least suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the moment, if they are sincere about expressing "consternation" over Khashoggi’s murder.
They know and the whole world knows that their weapons and guided missiles are being used against civilians in the Yemen War. They also know that Riyadh cannot prolong the war without the West’s much-needed military training and support.
According to Fars News Agancy, official leaks to Western and Turkish media regarding the ongoing investigation into the murder of Khashoggi have only obliquely placed the blame on the Crown Prince and other senior Saudi officials. This has to change too. MBS played a direct role in the plot and no one should whitewash this. The latest round of leaks to Turkish media suggest that the murder of Khashoggi "was planned in an extremely savage manner."
In fact, this is so serious that some Turkish media outlets have even called for MBS to be "removed from his post. We cannot close this file until the crown prince is brought to account and removed from his post.”
It is time for the international community, the European Union in particular, to harden their stance toward Saudi Arabia, blow up the Saudis' alibi that Khashoggi's death was the result of an "interrogation gone wrong,” and use international law to prosecute Khashoggi's killers and those who tried to obstruct justice through weeks of lies and misdirection.
In summation, there are very few people in the world who will accept the Saudi explanation that a fist fight broke out, resulting in Khashoggi’s death. The rest of the world still demands answers and the overwhelming evidence points to a deliberate, gruesome premeditated killing.
The reports of torture, and the butchery of Khashoggi’s body, are particularly shocking. Even more so because – as many experts believe - this barbaric assassination and dismemberment was deliberately ordered by MBS.