The US intelligence report accused Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of murdering journalist Jamal Khashogi, which Saudi Arabia has denied. At the same time, the Joe Biden administration banned 76 Saudi citizens. The “Khashogi ban” has been imposed on those who act to suppress, harass, threaten or harm the voice of journalists or government critics. Interestingly, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is not named among those people and it is believed that the Biden administration will not take action against him.
‘Salman is mercilessly killed in Turkey’
Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote a column criticizing the Saudi government for the Washington Post, was assassinated in Turkey. He was summoned to the Saudi consulate in connection with a document relating to his marriage to a Turkish citizen, then brutally murdered. For the first time in the US report, MBS was directly blamed for this. Saudi Arabia has denied this. In a statement on the Saudi News Agency, the Foreign Ministry called the report negative, bogus and unacceptable. It was claimed that the information and results given there were incorrect.
Biden will change the trump?
Former President Donald Trump ignored cases of human rights violations while improving Saudi Arabia’s relations with the United States. Joe Biden said during his election campaign that he would improve it. Blinken said the report strengthens the world’s condemnation for Khashogi’s assassination and strengthens governments that cross their borders to threaten and attack journalists and critics who use fundamental freedoms.
America doesn’t want to offend Saudi Arabia
However, the Biden administration doesn’t even want to completely annoy Arabia. Eliminating Islamic State and Al Qaeda is still important to him. Therefore, any action will be taken directly on the MBS, it seems unlikely. The government is trying to act without severing relations with the Middle East. Sources say the government’s goal is to give the relationship a new face, not to end it altogether. Therefore, a strong message is conveyed through the report.
Prince’s squad name
The United States has placed restrictions on former Saudi deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the Saudi Royal Guard Rapid Response Force. The RIF is called Tiger Squad or Firqat el-Nemer, which has been blamed for Khashoggi’s murder. The report states: “The Force is charged with defending the crown prince and has previously acted directly against criticism inside and outside the country.” The 35-year-old prince is extremely powerful in Arabia, but the United States does not want to see him on the king’s throne.
Iran, China, Russia also contested?
How the United States maintains its relations with Saudi Arabia will also be based on and affect its relations with Iran. Arabia and Iran are staunch opponents of each other. Experts believe Iran has dominated the Middle East in recent years. In Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, he supports the rebels who have become a headache for the Saudis. The United States also halted the arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which gave Iran-backed Houthi rebels an opportunity in Yemen. In such a situation, if Arabia looks to Russia or China as a defense and security partner, it will be difficult for America.