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Missing or murdered? Erdogan dares Saudi Arabia to produce Jamal Khashoggi (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 128.

Alex Christoforou

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Is Erdogan calling out a Saudi lie and possible brutal murder of an exiled journalist?

The Turkish President is calling on Saudi Arabia to prove that journalist Jamal Khashoggi is still alive, and that he left the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, alive and well.

Erdogan said that the burden lies with Saudi Arabia to prove that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is still alive and had left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, as the Saudi officials claim.

Speaking at a news conference in Budapest, the Turkish President said…

“Mere words are not enough evidence”…

“We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying ‘he has left’.”

“We have been working on it since they came to us, our intelligence and police department have been working on it. Our aim is to reach a conclusion. We look at the media and see various reports that make us think about it. We have to get a conclusion as soon as possible.”

Commenting for the first time since Khashoggi went missing, Erdogan told reporters…

“I am following the issue, and we will inform the world of the outcome of the official probe, which was launched on Saturday.”

“God willing we will not be faced with a situation we do not want.”

Erdogan noted that he hoped to have the results “very quickly” over the incident involving a “journalist I knew for a long time” and a “friend”.

The Turkish President said that CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the Saudi consulate and the airport in Istanbul were being studied by Turkish police.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the case of the missing or murdered Jamal Khashoggi, and what this means for an already tense relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

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Via The Middle East Eye

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Turkish officials told Reuters over the weekend that they believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while a senior adviser to Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey had “concrete information” on the abduction of the Washington Post columnist.

A senior Turkish police source told Middle East Eye that police believed that Khashoggi was “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces” inside the consulate after visiting the building on 2 October.

However, Erdogan – who said he was personally following the case – said Turkey had no documents or evidence at hand regarding the case.

A source told MEE on Monday that a Turkish forensics team was poised to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Yasin Aktay, a former MP for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the man Khashoggi told his fiancee to call if he did not emerge from the consulate, voiced concerns over the Saudi national’s whereabouts.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Aktay said that Khashoggi’s friends had told him to not go to the Saudi embassy and that the consulate was “not safe”.

“His friends had warned him [Khashoggi], ‘Do not go there, it is not safe,’ but he said they [the Saudis] could not do anything in Turkey,” said Aktay.

“Khashoggi discussed whether to go there with his fiancee beforehand. Our security officials are investigating the issue in every detail. We have some concrete information; it won’t be an unsolved crime.

“We could determine his entrance but not any exit. That’s confirmed. We asked them [the Saudis], they say ‘he left,’ but there is no such thing on the camera footage.

“That’s underestimating Turkey. They are wrong if they think Turkey is as it was in the ’90s. The consulate should make a clear statement.”

According to Reuters, “the initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one Turkish official told Reuters.

The sources did not say how they believed the killing was carried out. Saudi Arabia’s consul-general told Reuters on Saturday his country was helping search for Khashoggi, and dismissed talk of his possible abduction.

Via The Middle East Eye

Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said on Twitter she was “waiting for an official confirmation from the Turkish government to believe” the claims.

In his newspaper columns, Khashoggi has been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.

A legal representative from Khashoggi’s family in Saudi Arabia said they trusted Saudi authorities and were cooperating with them, according to al-Arabiya news.

In a statement on Sunday, Mutasem Khashoggi, the legal adviser to the Khashoggi family in Saudi Arabia, told al-Arabiya news that he believed external parties were using his brother’s disappearance to “push their agenda”.

The Washington Post late on Sunday said the United States should “demand answers” from Riyadh on Khashoggi’s disappearance – and punish the kingdom if it becomes clear the journalist was indeed murdered.

“The United States must now make a concerted effort to determine all the facts about Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance,” the Post wrote in an editorial. The US must “demand answers, loud and clear,” the paper said.

The editorial noted that the Trump administration has made great efforts to build ties with Mohammed bin Salman, and should now use the relationship as leverage.

“If the crown prince does not respond with full cooperation, Congress must, as a first step, suspend all military cooperation with the kingdom,” it said.

US President Donald Trump broke several days of silence on Monday, saying he was “concerned” about reports on Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“I am concerned about it. I don’t like hearing about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “Hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now nobody knows anything about it.”

His comments came after several prominent US lawmakers also expressed their own concerns.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted on Monday that it was “imperative” to find out what happened to Khashoggi.

“Honest answers must be forthcoming for the sake of the Saudi-US relationship,” he wrote.

Graham also said that if allegations of Saudi wrongdoing prove true, “it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid – economically and otherwise”.

Bob Corker, another Republican senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said he personally raised the issue of Khashoggi’s disappearance with the Saudi ambassador.

“And while we await more information, know we will respond accordingly to any state that targets journalists abroad,” Corker tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Another Republican senator, Marco Rubio, also tweeted on Sunday that he was concerned by the reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance and called on the government to respond:

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Joe

Seems that Saudi has scored an own goal. If this is the case it will be interesting to see what the US does about it since the US relies very much on petrodollar generated through Saudi oil sales.

christianblood
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christianblood

US supports ISIS. They will never do anything against their ISIS=Saudi allies!

Vince Dhimos
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This is moving things forward, like the the shooting of MBS. If this had been left up to Trump, he’d have stonewalled as usual. NOW maybe the US will show they care about the slaughter of Yemenis. (No thanks to Donnie).

christianblood
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christianblood

Arab men look to be very stupid folks indeed! I remember two decades ago Saddam Hussein’s two sons in laws returning from Jordan to Iraq a few months after they have escaped to Jordan and asked for asylum there and were openly briefed by the CIA.
Then they were foolishly persuaded by Sadam’s people to return to Iraq and were murdered there a few days after they returned. This Jamal Kashoggi did the same thing by returning to the Saudi embassy in Turkey, he should NEVER have done that, he should have known better! He acted like a dumb-ass!

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Here is an interesting angle on Las Vegas shooting…probably the most correct of all.

Was Las Vegas a Saudi Crown Prince Salman Assassination Attempt?
https://americandigitalnews.com/2017/11/07/las-vegas-saudi-crown-prince-salman-assassination-attempt/#.WmLNk66nF9M

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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