Saudi Arabia government rejects U.S. intelligence report on Jamal Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia government rejects U.S. intelligence report on Jamal Khashoggi murder

In declassifying the report, Biden reversed his predecessor Donald Trump's refusal to release it in defiance of a 2019 law, reflecting a new us willingness to challenge the kingdom on issues from human rights to Yemen.

The Kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, is controlled by the Saudi crown and is chaired by the crown prince, who is known as MBS.

Mr. Biden had pledged during his campaign to make the kingdom a "pariah" after it got a free pass under Mr. Trump, but observers say he is instead adopting a middle path. "They will not be tolerated by the United States", Blinken said.

He was, they concluded, simply too important to USA interests to punish.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of the crown prince's policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives allegedly linked to the crown prince in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018. What has been done in the aftermath? Therefore, any sanctions taken against him or those involved in this heinous crime should not be directed against the economic or political interests of the country's citizens whether in Saudi Arabia or overseas. But the policy can be applied to cases of human rights abuses worldwide.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Ahmed Hassan Mohammed al-Asiri, Saudi Arabia's former Deputy Head of General Intelligence Presidency, and Saudi Arabia's Rapid Intervention Force (RIF) in connection with the Khashoggi's murder.

The panel, which was co-sponsored by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, had convened to discuss the documentary on Khashoggi's murder 'The Dissident', directed by Bryan Fogel, which was released last December.

Already the episode has badly tarnished the reputation of the powerful crown prince who had positioned himself as a forward thinking reformer in the monarchy.

"The nation is fortified", wrote the conservative and semi-official Okaz newspaper on the front page of its weekend edition, with a large picture of the crown prince smiling.

Levying sanctions on Prince Mohammed, who is the grandson of the kingdom's founder, likely would have reverberated across Saudi Arabia, where his economic and social reforms are popular with young Saudis, and put him in a small group of foreign leaders who have been sanctioned by the U.S. They are all adversaries, and include North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Officials also factored in the prince's past support for using violent measures to silence dissidents overseas, the report said. "Telling the truth about who MBS is and what he did and what his role was in the murder is going to make it very hard for him to be integrated as a normal member of the global community", El-Baghdadi told ABC News Friday.

Bedingfield said no and responded that Biden has made clear he wants to have a "very different relationship" with Saudi Arabia from the previous administration.

Earlier, the White House said the unclassified report would be out "soon". It could be interpreted as a deliberate and mutually-agreed omission, created to give the message: This is not down to Saudi Arabia; this is just down to MBS.

Sales of products deemed defensive - like Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense systems made by Lockheed Martin or Patriot missile defense systems made by Lockheed and Raytheon - would still be allowed under such the new policy.

A few minutes after the report was released, many Saudis flooded Twitter with the hashtag saying, "We are all Mohammed bin Salman". While Riyadh initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin blame on what they said was a botched rendition operation.

State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to comment when asked about the report Thursday but suggested that the USA was looking at other ways to hold the perpetrators of the killing responsible for their actions. That's the easy part. The federal government officially fingering the Crown Prince is a key step by the Biden administration to shine a spotlight on the brutal killing.

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