Khashoggi was to disclose Saudi use of chemical weapons in Yemen: source

Dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was recently murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of banned chemical weapons in its imposed war on Yemen days before he was killed, a report says.

British Sunday Express weekly reported that a close friend of Khashoggi, speaking on condition of anonymity, had told it on Saturday night that he was about to obtain “documentary evidence” from his murdered friend proving claims that Riyadh had used banned chemical weapons in its brutal aggression against Yemen.

“I met him a week before his death. He was unhappy and he was worried,” the Middle Eastern academic told the British weekly, adding that he asked Khashoggi why he was unhappy and worried.

“He didn’t really want to reply, but eventually he told me he was getting proof that Saudi Arabia had used chemical weapons. He said he hoped he be getting documentary evidence,” Khashoggi’s fried further revealed, adding, “All I can tell you is that the next thing I heard, he was missing.”

Leading a coalition of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall a former Riyadh-friendly regime, which had resigned amid popular discontent, and to crush the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has played a significant role, alongside the Yemeni army, in defending the nation and has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government.

The aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign, but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. More than 15,000 Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more wounded.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

More than three and a half years into that war, Saudi Arabia has achieved neither of its objectives. This is while it had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks.

Since the onset of that war, Riyadh has been accused of using banned chemical weapons against the Yemeni soldiers defending their country against the Saudi-led aggression, with reports of using US-supplied white phosphorus munitions that can maim and kill by burning to the bone.

Khashoggi’s friend did not tell the Sunday Express whether the white phosphorus was one of the chemicals Saudis used against Yemenis, but the weekly speculated that it was “more likely” that the murdered journo was referring to phosphorous.

Last month, it was claimed that Saudi Arabia had been using white phosphorous munitions supplied by the US against soldiers and even civilians in Yemen, the weekly added.

“If Khashoggi did, in fact, have proof that Saudi Arabia was deliberately misusing phosphorous for this purpose, it would be highly embarrassing for the regime and provides the nearest motive yet as to why Riyadh may have acted when they did against him,” the Sunday Express quoted chemical warfare expert, Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, as saying.

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