US receives $100M Syria payout from Saudi government 

  17 October 2018    Read: 936
US receives $100M Syria payout from Saudi government 

The Saudi Arabian government reportedly sent $100 million to the Trump administration toward its operations in Syria Tuesday – the same day that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Riyadh – timing that some are calling too good to be true.

According to The New York Times, the funds were allegedly committed by the Saudi government in August to stabilize areas of Syria controlled by terrorists, but many bureaucrats in the U.S. raised have called the timing of the transfer "no coincidence."

The promised money was put into U.S. accounts the same day that Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia for meetings with the Saudi king and crown prince over the ongoing investigation of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi – an issue that has heightened tensions between the longtime allies.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said Saudi Arabia could be behind the disappearance of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and warned Washington would inflict "severe punishment" if he was murdered. However, he apparently recanted after a phone call with Saudi King Salman on Monday, suggested he believed the kingdom's denial of having "any knowledge" about Khashoggi.

According to The New York Times, the funds in question may help limit the damage the Trump administration could inflict upon the kingdom over the Khashoggi case.

Brett McGurk, the United States envoy to the coalition fighting against Daesh terror group, has denied any allegations that Pompeo's visit and the transfer of funds were connected.

"The specific transfer of funds has been long in process and has nothing to do with other events of the secretary's visit," McGurk was quoted by the Times as saying.

However, another U.S. official involved in policy on Syria said that the transfer of payments was unpredictable and no specific date had been set.

The money received from Saudi Arabia, as well as $50 million given by the United Arab Emirates, will allow for the Trump administration programs in Syria to continue without cutting further into the U.S. budget.

Trump again sidestepped reports late Tuesday that Turkish officials had evidence that Khashoggi had been beaten to death and dismembered in the presence of the Saudi consul general.

He said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who has been linked to suspects allegedly involved in the murder – denied knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi in a phone call.

"Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate," Trump said on Twitter, referring to the crown prince.

"He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly."

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