Top officials in the Biden administration met with the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was implicated in the horrific torture and killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
On Tuesday, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the Biden administration. This is the highest-level Saudi visit to the White House since the murder of Khashoggi following intelligence findings that implicated the crown prince. The meeting was not publicized.
Biden had previously labeled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “pariah” while running for the presidency amid the outrage over the death of the journalist. At the time, the media and the left painted former President Trump as complicit in the murder because he did not cut ties with Saudi Arabia over it. Biden is backtracking on his denouncement of the prince in the name of protecting U.S. strategic interests.
Prince Khalid is the younger brother and confidant to the crown prince. Biden is now being criticized by the media over the meeting. They are accusing the administration of signaling that they are giving the Saudis a pass concerning the killing.
(Video Credit: The White House)
President Biden seems to have forgotten his outrage over the Khashoggi murder. Despite the February findings on Mohammed bin Salman’s role in Khashoggi’s brutal death, he told ABC News that there was no precedent for the United States to punish an acting head of a country with which it has a partnership.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Prince Khalid bin Salman reportedly discussed human rights involving Saudi Arabia. But their primary focus was on strategic matters concerning the global economic recovery and oil production. The administration is also trying to reassure the Saudis on security issues given that Biden is trying to reenter into a nuclear deal with Iran.
Bin Salman met with Pentagon officials including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. No details were forthcoming from the meeting. He will also meet with State Department officials on Wednesday.
We discussed the longstanding and historic partnership between our two countries, our military and defense cooperation, and our mutual efforts to preserve regional stability.
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) July 7, 2021
The White House seems to be conducting a form of damage control over the Khashoggi issue. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted at a press briefing that the murder of the journalist could be raised by officials. But she was very close-mouthed over any details concerning the visit.
“During the meeting, they’ll discuss the long-standing partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia on regional security,” Psaki commented. “I’m not going to discuss additional details.”
Khashoggi was assassinated in 2018 after writing critically about the crown prince. The allegedly sanctioned murder took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The February findings released by Biden came to the conclusion that the crown prince had authorized a security team to carry out the wet work. The crown prince denies he had anything to do with the killing, instead, he blames it on a rogue operation.
Prince Khalid bin Salman was also implicated in the murder. According to The Washington Post, he was the one who told Khashoggi to go to the consulate.
The Washington Post is also claiming that new details of the murder are surfacing. Reportedly four members of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Tiger Squad” received paramilitary training in the United States. It’s also being reported that Egypt allegedly provided lethal poison to the assassins that they used to kill Khashoggi. Following his death, the journalist was dismembered.
“It’s clear that the Biden administration isn’t really interested in fundamentally altering its relationship with the unaccountable Saudi and Egyptian governments, much less ending its military and political support for both of them. Regardless of the State Department’s occasional, throwaway lines about human rights, values and democracy, the message that the despots ruling both those countries have taken from Washington is they need not worry that anything will radically change. The United States still has their back, no matter how awfully they continue to terrorize their citizens,” Sarah Leah Whitson wrote for The Washington Post.
Biden was strongly condemned on Twitter for turning a blind eye to the killing:
Turning a blind eye to murder
— SJones (@caseyjonesed) July 7, 2021
— ғɪʀᴇᴄʀᴀᴄᴋᴇʀ (@proudbluetexan) July 7, 2021
— AMSTACH (@AMSTACH1) July 7, 2021
— Ton Frere (@TonFrere9) July 7, 2021
The brutal murder of khashoggi should make the US cut all ties to the Saudis. What benefit do we get from being friends with these killers and suppressors of women’s rights?
— SAWalsh🆘🐘😸💕🇨🇦 (@SAlexaW) July 7, 2021
I remember something about while on the campaign trail, Biden (a 40 yr pol and recent VP-who knows all about Saudis) I remember Biden strongly promising accountability for Khashoggi. He knew, in those very moments, he was lying to voters.
— jawic393 (@jawic3931) July 7, 2021
I’m not voting for Biden next time. This was a campaign promise that had to be kept. The Saudis murdered a man critical of their rule in cold blood. I don’t care what business we have with them. There must be accountability. @JoeBiden
— imaginethat (@imagine32743903) July 6, 2021
‘President Joe Biden had pledged to make a “pariah” of the kingdom’s crown prince during his presidential campaign over Khashoggi’s killing and other abuses, but his administration has instead emphasized U.S. strategic interests with Saudi Arabia.’ 🙄
— jo (@jofromgreylynn) July 7, 2021
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