Last week, the Biden Administration declassified and released the US Intelligence report about the Saudi Crown Prince’s involvement in killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey.
However, the US has stated through the State Department spokesman that they will be no sanctions or further punishment against the Saudis. According to the spokesperson, “President Biden is seeking to ‘recalibrate’ not ‘rupture’ the US-Saudi Arabia relations.
This has no doubt raised eyebrows and is a shift from Biden’s campaign promise. However, President Biden’s administration has defended its decision not to apply sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for the killing.
The extracts from the state department’s spokesman Ned Price reads, “We are working to put the US Saudi relationship on the right footing; had the Biden administration done something more dramatic and something more drastic, it would greatly diminish US influence in Riyadh.”
Although the US Department of State, on February 26, 2021, put 76 Saudi nationals on a no-travel list with the Treasury Department also imposing financial sanctions on Saudi officials involved in killing Khashoggi but did not punish Crown Prince Mohammed.
The decision not to punish the crown prince also drew harsh criticism, including the Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a columnist. The Washington Post accused President Biden of breaking his campaign promise to make the Saudi regime “pay the price” for the killing of Khashoggi.
Also, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard called the US inaction against the Crown Prince “extremely worrisome”; she described the move as problematic.
She also called on the US government to act on its public findings and to sanction MBS for what he has done.
In other news, the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry has rejected the US Intelligence report on MBS as inaccurate while denying the crown prince’s involvement in Khashoggi’s death.