The CIA report officially released by US President Joe Biden confirms that Jamal Khashoggi was a state crime, committed by order of Prince Bin Salman, son of the Saudi king, and then killed by men with close ties to the highest levels of the Saudi government and bin Salman. But let’s go into the question that undermines the balance between the Saudi world and the United States, and therefore Europe.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and a Washington Post columnist, was critical of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies. He was allegedly killed and dismembered on October 2, 2018, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Journalist, political dissident, reporter, Jamal Khashoggi, who would be 63 today, was all this.
Jamal Khashoggi was known for his interviews with Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks, during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Cousin of Dodi Fayed, the Egyptian film producer and boyfriend of Princess Diana (killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997), Khashoggi was also nephew of billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who played a part in the Iran-Contra scandal.
A year before his tragic death, Khashoggi emigrated to the United States, where he exiled himself as a political dissident. In particular, the Saudi journalist had harshly criticized some decisions of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. On 2 October three years ago, in 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul (he was there to pick up paperwork needed for his wedding), the Turkish capital, as evidenced by some frames recovered from video surveillance cameras. The next day, on October 3, the journalist’s girlfriend, the Turkish Hatice Cengiz, began to worry because she was not receiving any news from her partner. The Turkish government, however, continued to assert that Khashoggi was inside the Consulate. Even at the Washington Post, with which the reporter collaborated, chaos and concern began to circulate. Two more days passed, during which Riyadh had declared the journalist missing and suggested that the Consulate be searched, before one begins to think of a kidnapping or in any case of an organized action against Khashoggi. However, it will not be until October 20, almost twenty days after his disappearance, that Riyadh will admit the murder of the reporter, who died “following a struggle”. According to the Riyadh Prosecutor’s Office, it seems that the journalist was poisoned with a cocktail of drugs and later dismembered. Khashoggi’s remains have never been found.
The CIA report – On February 26, 2021 the declassified US intelligence report said the crown prince approved the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi. Shortly after the US intelligence community published its long-awaited report on Friday afternoon (Feb. 26) on the Saudis who were responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, it was taken down without explanation and replaced with another version that removed the names of three men it had initially said were complicit. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to clarify why the names were originally on the list and what roles, if any, they may have had in Khashoggi’s killing. The Office simply justified tis fact saying that the revised document was put on the website because the original one erroneously contained three names which should not have been included.
The report concludes with a list of names — first 21, then 18 when it was revised — who US intelligence has “high confidence” were involved in the grisly murder but does not assess whether they knew that the operation would lead to his death.
The Saudi government immediately responded to Friday’s report and criticized its findings. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” a statement read.
Biden retreats – White House says it wants to ‘recalibrate’ but not destroy relationship with kingdom. Biden’s response to the CIA report was expected yesterday. Unfortunately, Biden’s statement did not put into practice what he promised in the election campaign, which is a brake on Saudi Arabia: as a presidential candidate, Joe Biden had promised to pariah Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi . But when it came time to actually punish Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Biden’s perception of US strategic interests prevailed. The Biden administration has made it clear that it will forgo sanctions or other greater penalties against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi’s murder, even after a US intelligence report concluded that the prince had ordered it. The decision highlights how real-time diplomacy decisions often conflict with the righteousness of the high moral standard. And nowhere is this enigma tougher than in the US’s complicated relationship with Saudi Arabia, the world oil giant, a US arms customer and a counterweight to Iran in the Middle East.
Biden administration officials said, U.S. interests in maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia forbid making a pariah of a young prince who may go on to rule the kingdom for decades. That stands in stark contrast to Biden’s campaign promise to make the kingdom “pay the price” for human rights abuses and “make them in fact the pariah that they are.”
According to The Hill, Biden detailed a conversation he had on Thursday with Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in which he emphasised that the US would push Riyadh to honour human rights amid lingering criticism over the killing of Khashoggi. “I spoke yesterday with the king, not the prince. Made it clear to him that the rules are changing and we’re going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday. We are going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses and we’re going to make sure that they, in fact, if they want to deal with us, they have to deal with it in a way that the human rights abuses are dealt with,” Biden said. “And we’re trying to do that across the world,” he continued. “But particularly here, this report has been sitting there, the last administration wouldn’t even release it. We immediately, when I got in, filed the report, read it, got it, and released it today. And it is outrageous what happened,” the US President said.
The decision not to take any direct action against Saudia Arabia reflects the tradition according to which “the US usually does not apply sanctions to the leadership of countries with which it has diplomatic relations”. Instead, it happens to the North Korean Kim Jong un, the Belarusian Aleksander Lukashenko, the Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, the Syrian Bashar al Assad. “Including MBS in the sanctions – so writes the Washington Post, “would be considered a huge insult in the Saudi Kingdom and would have made it virtually impossible to maintain relations”.