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World Biden administration releases report on Khashoggi's killing directly implicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

06:55  27 february  2021
06:55  27 february  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis

  U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's control of decision-making in Saudi Arabia was cited as evidence he approved the killing Jamal Khashoggi.The report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, released Friday, cited the crown prince's control of decision-making in Saudi Arabia as well as the involvement of a key advisor and members of the prince's protective detail in the operation that killed Khashoggi, a critic of the royal family.

Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud wearing a hat: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has faced global condemnation over Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Getty Images © Bernd von Jutrczenka/Getty Images Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has faced global condemnation over Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Getty Images
  • The Biden administration on Friday released a long-awaited report on Jamal Khashoggi's killing.
  • The declassified intelligence report directly implicated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • The Trump administration prioritized the US-Saudi relationship and refused to release the report.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Biden administration on Friday released a declassified US intelligence report that explicitly implicated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Biden response to report on Khashoggi killing angers both Saudi Arabia and its critics

  Biden response to report on Khashoggi killing angers both Saudi Arabia and its critics The Biden administration's first test over what it promised would be a tough approach to Saudi Arabia has left both Riyadh and its critics unhappy.But after his administration released a declassified U.S. intelligence report last week blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it didn’t quite work out that way.

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," said the report, provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

It added: "We base this assessment on the Crown Prince's control of decisionmaking in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman's protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi."

The report noted that Prince Mohammed since 2017 has had "absolute control" over 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."

US focused on Saudi Arabia's 'future conduct' after intel report ties crown prince to Khashoggi death

  US focused on Saudi Arabia's 'future conduct' after intel report ties crown prince to Khashoggi death The United States is focused on Saudi Arabia's "future conduct" after rejecting sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a State Department spokesman. © Provided by Washington Examiner “We are very focused on future conduct, and that is part of why we have cast this not as a rupture but a recalibration,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Monday. “We are trying to get to the systemic issues underlying the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

"The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him," the report said.

The intelligence assessment also named with "high confidence" 21 people who "participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi on behalf of Muhammad bin Salman." The report said, however, that it was unclear "whether these individuals knew in advance that the operation would result in Khashoggi's death."

The names included Saud al-Qahtani, formerly a close advisor to Prince Mohammed who's been accused of directing the operation behind Khashoggi's murder. Al-Qahtani was dismissed shortly after the killing.

Jamal Khashoggi wearing glasses: Khashoggi at an event hosted by Middle East Monitor in London. Reuters © Reuters Khashoggi at an event hosted by Middle East Monitor in London. Reuters

The Trump administration repeatedly defied congressional demands for an unclassified report identifying any current or former Saudi officials responsible for Khashoggi's death in a Saudi Consulate.

Saudi Crown Prince Approved Plan for Khashoggi Death, U.S. Finds

  Saudi Crown Prince Approved Plan for Khashoggi Death, U.S. Finds Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a U.S. intelligence report released Friday. © Photographer: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images Prince Mohammed bin Salman “We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report concluded. The report builds on classified intelligence from the CIA and other agencies after Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The release of the declassified report on Friday is one sign of how President Joe Biden is drastically altering the dynamic with Riyadh. After Khashoggi's killing, President Donald Trump defended Prince Mohammed and suggested that "maybe" the Saudi leader had no knowledge of the killing. "The world is a very dangerous place!" Trump said.

As part of this realignment, Biden in early February announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

'A deliberate, premeditated execution'

In 2019, the UN released a report that also implicated the Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's killing, which it described as "a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law."

Khashoggi, who once had close ties to the Saudi royal family, was killed and dismembered by agents of his own government in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. His remains have still not been found. Khashoggi had been lured to the consulate to pick up documents necessary to marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

Biden speaks with Saudi king ahead of release of Khashoggi report

  Biden speaks with Saudi king ahead of release of Khashoggi report President Biden on Thursday spoke with Saudi King Salman ahead of the anticipated release of a U.S. intelligence report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi that is expected to implicate the king's son, the Saudi crown prince.The White House readout of the call made no mention of Khashoggi, but said the two leaders "affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law.""The President told KingThe White House readout of the call made no mention of Khashoggi, but said the two leaders "affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law.

"Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries suggest that Mr. Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag," the UN report said. Turkish officials have also said that Khashoggi's body was dismembered with a bone saw.

A Washington Post columnist at the time of his killing, Khashoggi was often critical of the Saudi government.

Khashoggi's gruesome killing prompted global outrage and sparked bipartisan calls for the US to reevaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Democrats and Republicans alike explicitly accused Prince Mohammed of being behind Khashoggi's death.

But Trump prioritized preserving the US-Saudi relationship and stood by Prince Mohammed, citing the importance of arms sales. He brushed off the CIA's conclusion that the Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing.

Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Donald Trump posing for the camera: President Donald Trump, holding a chart of military hardware sales, next to Prince Mohammed in the Oval Office on March 20, 2018. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters © Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Donald Trump, holding a chart of military hardware sales, next to Prince Mohammed in the Oval Office on March 20, 2018. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Trump also rejected efforts from congressional lawmakers to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where a war has fostered the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Trump at one point boasted that he'd shielded Prince Mohammed from congressional retribution over Khashoggi's killing, the veteran journalist Bob Woodward reported.

Saudi crown prince 'approved' Khashoggi murder operation: US intel report

  Saudi crown prince 'approved' Khashoggi murder operation: US intel report The U.S. on Friday released a declassified intelligence report finding that the Saudi crown prince 'approved' an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The brutal killing has roiled the United States' longstanding ties with Saudi Arabia, and President Joe Biden has vowed to recalibrate the relationship after his predecessor Donald Trump shielded the kingdom from U.S. pressure.

Biden snubs MBS as he recalibrates the US-Saudi relationship

The US-Saudi relationship has taken a sharp turn under Biden. Beyond releasing the Khashoggi report and moving to end US involvement in Yemen, the White House recently announced that Biden would speak with King Salman and not Prince Mohammed in official communications. This marked a major diplomatic rebuke of the Saudi crown prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler, and underscored how serious Biden is about recalibration.

Biden spoke with King Salman for the first time as president on Thursday. A White House readout of the call said Biden "affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law."

"Together they discussed regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the U.S. commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups," the White House said.

The readout did not mention Khashoggi, and it wasn't clear whether Biden brought up the Saudi journalist's killing. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Following the release of the report on Friday, the Treasury Department unveiled sanctions on Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, a former deputy head of the Saudi intelligence services, and the Saudi Rapid Intervention Force over their involvement in Khashoggi's killing. No sanctions against Prince Mohammed were announced, even though the intelligence assessment said that he approved Khashoggi's murder and that the RIF answered to him.

A senior administration official told Reuters that the Biden administration was concerned that sanctioning the crown prince could "rupture" the US-Saudi relationship.

Read the full ODNI report:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senators hope for more Saudi sanctions in wake of Khashoggi report .
"I don't think that the chapter is closed on the outcome of the disclosure of this report,” Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono said.“No, I don't think he does go far enough, although you have to give him credit because he's actually increased sanctions and he's increased the travel bans on those individuals who were directly responsible,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.

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