USA cautious over Khashoggi as new claims emerge


The Times reporters say that, according to Khashoggi's friends, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mashal Saad al-Bostani, 31, a lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Forces, was among the 15-member "hit team" that landed in Istanbul in two private jets from Riyadh on October 2 and headed to the Saudi consulate.

Karen Attiah, the Global Opinions editor at The Post, wrote a note at the top of Khashoggi's newest article.

"Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen".

On Thursday, the Post published what it described as Khashoggi's last column in honor of the missing journalist.

Officials in Turkey believe Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate, but his death has not been confirmed.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, disappeared after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month.

Worldwide pressure has also been mounting on Riyadh with United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet calling for the lifting of the immunity of officials who might be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi, a former regime insider who became critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not been seen since he stepped inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to sort out marriage paperwork.

Khashoggi wrote the "ripe" hope of future freedoms felt by many during the Arab Spring of 2011, which saw popular uprisings throughout the Middle East, had been "shattered".

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However his predecessor, Stephen Cordner, was one of the Saudi surgeon's Australian mentors and recalled the experience in a radio interview on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington's closest allies and the Khashoggi disappearance is putting the administration in an awkward position.

Ms Attiah said the column was a flawless example of Khashoggi's commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world, which was "a freedom he apparently gave his life for".

After Khashoggi was critical of President Donald Trump and the Saudi government's apparent trust in the U.S. leader, the royal family barred Khashoggi from writing.

Major sponsors have been pulling out for the past week since Mr Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never emerged.

Pompeo told reporters on his way back to Washington that the United States needs "to know the facts before we can begin to formulate what the appropriate response" would be if Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance. When asked on Wednesday if he was covering up for bin Salman, Trump said: "No, not at all, I just want to find out what's happening".

This is while Brett H. McGurk, the United States special envoy to the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh, asserted that Pompeo's visit to Saudi Arabia and the $100 million payment were not connected.

Last week, even after reports surfaced about a possible link between the killing and Saudi's royal family, Mnuchin expressed his intent to still attend the conference.

According to a Tuesday New York Times report, an unnamed official told the outlet that "the timing of this was no coincidence".