Following a U.S. Intelligence report that is being made public in which it said the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) personally approved the 2008 killing of a 59 year old journalist named Jamal Khashoggi, President Biden has made clear the U.S. will take no action against MBS. The report was finalized during President Trump’s term in office, though Trump refused to lay blame with MBS and used equivocating words when asked about the killing.
Last Wednesday Biden confirmed to reporters that he had read the report. Khashoggi was a U.S. Resident who worked for the Washington Post as a columnist who often wrote unflattering articles about MBS and the Saudi royal family. On Oct. 2, 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey to get documents he needed in order to get married to his fiancé when he was met by members of MBS’ personal security detail and was strangled and cut up into small pieces and put into a barrel. Later a look-a-like wearing khashoggi’s clothes walked out of the embassy, but didn’t wear the same shoes as Khashoggi had worn when walking into the embassy.
Biden justified his decision to not take any action by saying that the U.S. does not sanction foreign leaders, something previous Republican and Democratic administrations have followed. Biden has ended U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen but has not stopped U.S. military aid because Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally against Iran and in the war on terrorism. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “The president’s intention, as is the intention of this government, is to recalibrate our engagement with Saudi Arabia.”