The Biden administration is leveling sanctions at Saudi Arabia over the horrific killing of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but not against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even though a newly released intel report said he gave the green light for the murder.
The Biden administration is imposing sanctions on a Saudi Arabian top intelligence official named Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, who is the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service and on the prince’s protective detail, that is known as the “Rapid Intervention Force.” This includes visa restrictions on 76 Saudi nationals, CNN reported.
“We are going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses and we’re going to make sure that they, in fact, you know, if they want to deal with us, they have to deal with it in a way that the human rights abuses are dealt with,” President Biden vaguely stated.
Democrats and the media are outraged that Biden ostensibly broke his promise over the punishment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the Director of Intelligence released a report on the matter.
(Video Credit: CNN)
“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization,” the unclassified intel report declared.
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell asked Biden in a November 2019 primary debate exactly how he would punish Saudi officials for Khashoggi’s killing. Biden replied, “I would make it very clear we were not going to sell more weapons to them, we were going to make them pay the price and make them the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper is leading the charge. He cornered Senator Tim Kaine on his show and demanded to know why Biden isn’t holding the prince accountable.
Tapper nailed Kaine on the development: “Nothing — nothing — for MBS. MBS is getting away scot-free. What do you make of that?”
Kaine predictably deflected but he did say there should be consequences for the prince’s actions. He then went on to praise how Biden is handling the affair. That did not sit well with Tapper.
The CNN host was incensed. “When it comes to accountability for the guy that was in charge, who ordered the brutal assassination, murder, of your constituent, a Washington Post columnist, for the crime of writing a column that said there should be more freedom and democracy in Saudi Arabia, MBS is getting away scot-free. How is that any different from Donald Trump? Joe Biden and Donald Trump have the same position — save MBS’ ass!” exclaimed Tapper.
Kaine launched into a defense of Biden and stated that “the positions are not the same.” He then went on to lamely highlight perceived differences between the Trump and Biden administrations concerning Saudi Arabia. Kaine claimed he wants more accountability and then proclaimed: “We’re going to have to explore in Congress what more we can do.”
"I'm not happy with the lack of accountability for MBS. He ordered it," says Sen. Tim Kaine of the killing of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"President Trump knew it, and there needs to be accountability… We're going to have to explore in Congress what more we can do." pic.twitter.com/aMPgPQXaEU
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 26, 2021
The New York Times is reporting that Biden came to the conclusion that “directly penalizing” the prince would come at too high a cost and would jeopardize the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia. That relationship will likely be key in Biden’s negotiations with Iran.
A reporter for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, excoriated Biden in a blistering opinion piece on Friday, titled: “President Biden Lets a Saudi Murderer Walk.”
“The weak message to other thuggish dictators considering such a murder is: Please don’t do it, but we’ll still work with you if we have to. The message to Saudi Arabia is: Go ahead and elevate M.B.S. to be the country’s next king if you must,” he wrote.
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