On Friday, the Biden administration released a highly awaited United States intelligence report that says that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved the 2018 operation to capture or kill the Saudi journalist. The executive summary of the report states that they assess that Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved the capturing or killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, approved the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a declassified assessment of the killing released to the Congress by US intelligence agencies.#JamalKhashoggi#mohammadbinsalman
— Farazfarooq (@Farazfa94425870) February 26, 2021
Furthermore, the report says that they base this assessment on the Prince’s control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of the members of Muhammad bin Salman and key adviser’s protective detail in operation, and Muhammad bin Salman’s support for using brutal measures to silent protestors abroad, including Khashoggi.
Joe Biden administration provided the long-anticipated released intelligence report to Congress ahead of its public release on Friday. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified the congressionally mandated report, following a phone call U.S. President Biden had with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Thursday. Moreover, the document titled “Assessing the Saudi Government’s Role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi” dated 11th February and marked as published by Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence 25th February.
Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, announced the latest Khashoggi Ban shortly after the report’s release, which allows the United States to restrict visas for people acting on behalf of a foreign government who directly engaged in serious, exterritorial counter-rebellious activities, including those individuals that suppress, follow, threaten, harm, or harass activists, journalists, or other persons supposed as dissidents for their work.
Key Background of the Incident
The New York Times initially reported the findings of the intelligence assessment report in November 2018. Furthermore, its release marks a major shift in the United States response to the major role top Saudi officials played in the Khashoggi killing, which former president Donald Trump repeatedly equivocated on despite evidence from U.S. intelligence agencies, the Turkish government, and the United Nations.
With the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comprised as a key diplomatic and economic partner by the Trump administration, the former president repetitively defended Crown Prince against criticizers, including several congressional Republican leaders. Muhammad bin Salman was not targeted in 2018 when the U.S. State Department issued authorizations against seventeen Saudi officials over the Saudi journalist. The Trump government resist an order from Congress to release the intelligence report on the journalist, a move Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, vowed to undo at a confirmation hearing in January.
Biden Administration’s policy to treat Khashoggi’ case
The Biden government sought to fill its campaign pledge to rectify United States relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, halting military sports, including some arms sales to the Saudi-led Yemen war and condemning its violations of human rights. However, the U.S. officials also sustained high-level engagement with Saudi Arabia, a strategic partner to the United States, the largest weapons importer and a major oil producer globally.
The press office of the White House said that Biden spoke to the eighty-five-year-old Saudi King Salman instead of the crown prince on Thursday. But the readout didn’t discuss journalist Khashoggi. Joe Biden told King Salman instead of Prince Muhammad bin Salman on Thursday. Additionally, the data said that Biden told King Salman that he would make an effort to make a mutual relationship as transparent and strong as possible. Both these leaders acknowledged the historic nature of the relationship between the two countries and agreed to work mutually on common issues of interest and concern.
However, Saudi Arabia convicted five men to death in 2019 over the killing but converted their sentences to twenty years in prison. Whereas three men were condemned to twenty-four years imprisonment while three others found not guilty in the trial, which the U.N. blasted as unjust.