United States urges Saudi Arabia to disband force behind Khashoggi killing

Marco Green
March 3, 2021

The fiancée of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has called for Saudi Arabia's crown prince to be "punished without delay" over his killing.

Washington on Friday released a long-delayed intelligence report that accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving Khashoggi's 2018 murder in Istanbul, drawing a rebuke from Riyadh, which strongly rejected the assessment.

Once inside, it said, he died at the hands of more than a dozen Saudi security and intelligence officials and others.

She said she have expected more material evidence to have been released. But he now faces criticism that he backed down from a vow to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over human rights abuses.

"The truth - that was already known - has been revealed one more time", Khashoggi's fiancee, Turkish national Hatice Cengiz, said in a statement which criticised a lack of USA sanctions against Prince Mohammed in light of the findings.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of DE told Bash later on "State of the Union" that the administration is "not yet down with recalibrating the relationship between the United States and the Saudi kingdom", adding that "balancing human rights and our regional interest and security is part of the hard work of diplomacy". "They will not be tolerated by the United States".

In a 99-page report in 2019, Callamard said experts found it "inconceivable" that a sophisticated 15-man mission to kill Khashoggi could have happened without the prince's knowledge.

The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Prince Mohammed, also fits a pattern of "the crown prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad", it added.

Former President Donald Trump sanctioned 17 Saudi officials over Khashoggi's murder but withheld the congressionally mandated intelligence report and vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

But she said the United States report did not go far enough.

Biden also needs to deal with the top crude producer on the highly fraught issues of energy, counterterrorism, and efforts to end the conflict in Yemen.

Abdulla is named in Saudi reports as the assistant chief of state security for counterterrorism.

'This suggests that the aides were unlikely to question Mohammed bin Salman's orders or undertake sensitive actions without his consent'.

The Biden administration had earlier imposed sanctions on the Rapid Intervention Force and had banned the entry of 76 Saudis under a new policy against foreign officials who harass dissidents.

Khashoggi's brutal murder exposes the uncomfortable truth that the U.S. relationship with a Saudi royal family that has used oppression and funded extreme forms of Islam to stay in power has always been something of a corrupt bargain - one that reveals tensions between America's founding values and the country it actually is.

Crown Prince Mohammed, who is effectively the kingdom's ruler, has denied any role in the murder.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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