US senator calls for arms sales halt to Saudi Arabia

By Ahmet Salih Alacaci


U.S. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Wednesday demanded a halt in military support to Saudi Arabia until a Saudi journalist who disappeared in the Consulate in Istanbul was “returned alive”.

Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2, when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, amid speculation that he was killed by Saudi authorities.

In an article in The Atlantic, Paul said that he intended to introduce legislation to “cut all funding, training, advising, and any other coordination” with and to the Kingdom until Khashoggi is confirmed to be alive.

“The regime must be held accountable for Jamal Khashoggi,” he said.

Slamming the Saudi “oppressive regime”, Paul expressed “deep disappointment” with his fellow senators for not taking measures earlier.

“No amount of oil business or arms deals justifies our collusion with a regime that sponsors jihadism around the world,” he said.

He also criticized the OPEC nation’s “reckless” actions in the Yemen conflict.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation on the fate of Khashoggi as several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the UK — press for clarification.

According to his fiancée Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi first arrived at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Sept. 28. After being told his documents would be ready in a week, Khashoggi went to London and returned to Istanbul on Oct. 1.

Khashoggi called the consulate and was told “that documents are being prepared” and he could come to the consulate. He went to the diplomatic building on Oct. 2 with Cengiz but was not seen after entering it.

On the same day, 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was also inside, police sources said.