Biden administration accuses Saudi crown prince of “approving” the murder of journalist Khashoggi, but decides not to punish

Washington publicly stated on Friday, Feb. 26, that the Saudi crown prince “approved” the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal-Khashoggi, but decided to give the culprit a wide berth to avoid a “break” with a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

The Saudi authorities today declared their “complete rejection of the false and biased conclusions of the U.S. intelligence report,” while expressing their willingness to continue their “strong and solid” partnership with Washington.

After taking office, Biden instructed the intelligence community to declassify the report on Khashoggi’s killing, which Trump had asked to be kept secret. The four-page document reads, “Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane approved the operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

No green light without him

The report stressed that the young Saudi leader, nicknamed “MBS,” has “absolute control” over the country’s intelligence and security services, “so it would be impossible to carry out such an operation without his ‘green light. ‘, such an operation would be highly unlikely.”

The report also included a list of about 20 people involved in the murder, including General Ahmed al-Assiri, the former number two Saudi intelligence chief who was close to the crown prince, and Saoud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince. Both have been cleared by their own courts.

After sparing the Saudi crown prince, the U.S. government announced financial sanctions against the “rapid response misconduct” led by General Assiri and al-Qahtani. The elite force responsible for protecting the crown prince was accused of being deeply involved in the Khashoggi murder.

U.S. Secretary of State John Blinken banned 76 Saudis involved in the persecution of dissidents from entering the United States, naming the ban the “Khashoggi ban.

Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the main perpetrator of the murder, Washington did not impose any punishment or sanctions on him.

Biden speaks with old Saudi king

Before coming to power, Joe Biden had said that the Gulf kingdom of Saudi Arabia should be ostracized as a rogue state because of the Khashoggi murder. He also promised that those responsible for the murder should “suffer the consequences.”

However, after becoming president, Biden called the elderly Saudi King Salman on Thursday to try to clear the mines for bilateral relations. In addition to praising Saudi Arabia for the recent release of several political prisoners, Biden assured the authorities in Riyadh that the U.S. would help Saudi Arabia’s defense against strikes by pro-Iranian militant groups.

Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi (جمال خاشقجي) is a political journalist for the U.S. newspaper The Washington Post and several Arab media outlets. He was murdered by a team of secret service agents after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018. To date, his bones are unaccounted for.

Today under Secretary of State Blinken’s tweet, a comment was left criticizing the Biden Administration for sparing the Saudi crown prince who ordered Khashoggi’s murder, stating that Saudi Arabia was also responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans.