Lawmakers and journalists are calling, among other things, for penalties against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for killing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 after a US intelligence report found the Crown Prince approved the operation. Emrah Gurel / AP Hide caption
Emrah Gurel / AP
Emrah Gurel / AP
The publication of a US intelligence report stating this Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince had approved the Washington Post columnist’s assassination in 2018. Jamal Khashoggi demands punishment against the man who stands next to the Saudi throne.
The report released on Friday found that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – his involvement has been widely suspected – had approved the operation to kill Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
On the day the report was released, the US State Department also issued a visa ban for 76 Saudis. However, no direct penalties have been announced for Salman so far.
Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted on Friday that Biden “should ensure that the effects of Khashoggi’s brutal murder go beyond those who carried it out on whoever ordered it”.
“The Crown Prince has blood on his hands. The blood of an American resident and journalist. We have to be accountable,” wrote Schiff. He also told CNN that Biden should “avoid” the Crown Prince.
Senator Robert Menendez, DN.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the report one “appropriate first step” but said he hoped for “concrete action” against Salman “for his role in this heinous crime”.
“The United States must send a clear signal to our allies and adversaries that fundamental values, including respect for basic human rights and dignity, drive US foreign policy,” Menendez said in a statement.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, D-Va., said He was “encouraged to see how the new government takes steps” to be responsible for the death of Khashoggi, a Virginia resident.
On the Republican side, the House Foreign Affairs Committee member is Michael McCaul from Texas said The US “must ensure that everyone involved in this appalling crime is held accountable – including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose role in this murder has now been publicly confirmed.”
The White House has said Biden plans to “recalibrate” the US-Saudi Arabia relationship. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said Biden plans to do business with the kingdom. “Counterpart to counterpart“with the Saudi head of state, King Salman.
Although Mohammed bin Salman is not officially the king, he is considered the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and controls the kingdom’s intelligence and security services.
In an interview with Univision on FridayBiden said he spoke to King Salman Thursday and made it clear that “the rules are changing”. Biden said changes to the relationship would be announced on Monday.
“We’re going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses, and we’re going to make sure that they actually, you know, if they want to deal with us, they have to deal with it in a way that is humane. We’re trying to deal with that around the world. but especially here, “Biden told anchor Ilia Calderón.
However, the lack of specific penalties for the Crown Prince has led to reprimands from Khashoggi’s colleagues and friends in journalism.
An editorial by The Washington Post applauds several of Biden’s actions to undo the extremely cozy relationship Saudi Arabia had with Trump. The editorial goes on to suggest that relations between the US and Saudi Arabia under Biden may be similar to what they had before Trump “when the kingdom was treated as the US’s most important ally in the Middle East”. The editorial cites continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a recent phone call between Salman and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“Mr Biden is still granting a passport to a ruler who has sown instability in the Middle East in recent years while presiding over the gravest suppression of dissent in modern Saudi history,” the Post editors wrote.
The Post stated that US law should prohibit Salman from entering the US and freeze his assets.
The society of professional journalists called the intelligence report “too little too late” and added that “the Crown Prince should already be held accountable”. The group said Biden should send the message “that the murder of a journalist is unacceptable anywhere on the planet.”
New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof, a friend of Khashoggi, didn’t shred any words in his column, called Salman a murderer, and said Biden was “ready to let the murderer go.”
The Saudi government has rejected the results of the US intelligence report.