HomeGeopoliticsUS accuses Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi murder: All you need to...

US accuses Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi murder: All you need to know

United States Intelligence agencies after investigation have concluded that Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi group that functioned under the commands of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), since he viewed the journalist as ‘a threat to the kingdom’.

For the first time on Friday, an unclassified US intelligence report has informed what its officials think about the role of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler in the 2018 killing of the Saudi journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, 2018. The reason behind his murder was his being critical of the Saudi government. Before his death, he had written in his last column about the need for a free press in the Arab world. 

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Khashoggi had written, “A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative.”

Saudi officials since then have countered the murder by saying that he was killed in a “rouge operation” by the agents who had come to convince him to return to the kingdom. On the contrary Turkic officials had labelled it as an ordered act from the highest levels of the Saudi government. 

The long-awaited report was held back by the former US President Donald Trump’s administration even after the law asking for its release was passed by the Congress in 2019.

While the Biden administration said that the White House is waiting for the release of report and soon after that will announce actions against the killing of Khashoggi. 

The US intelligence agencies, including the CIA have grounded their assessment that the de facto prince approved of the operation because his “control of decision making in the Kingdom” and the “direct involvement of a key adviser and members or Mohammed bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation”.

The US intelligence further informed of MBS’s “support for violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi”. 

It is a four pages report which even lists 21 individuals who participated or are otherwise accused of complicit in Khashoggi’s death. 

The report said, “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 ab operation of the Crown Prince’s authorization.”

The report even mentioned that at the time of the murder of Khashoggi MBS had “probably fostered   an environment in which aides were afraid that failure to complete assigned tasks might result in him firing or arresting them.” The report said that Khashoggi was view as a threat to the Kingdom by MBS. The report very vividly labels the murder operation as pre-panned but the US intelligence authorities are still not aware of when the decision to harm him was actually made. 

The report said, “We do not know whether these individuals knew in advance that the operation would result in Khashoggi’s death.”

After the release of the report, the Biden administration has announced travel bans on 76 Saudi nationals and has even imposed financial sanctions on Saudi Major General Ahmad Hassan Mohammad Asiri, who is a close confidant of the prince. 

Saudi’s response

The Saudi officials have rejected the report and denied any sort of engagement of MBS in the assassination of the journalist. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs via a statement said that the Saudi government “completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions.”

The report continued, “It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the Kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the Kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again.”

“The Kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system”, the statement further read. 

To be noted, it was even reported in 2019 that as compensation for their father’s killing, Khashoggi’s four children were given “million-dollar houses” and “monthly five figure payments” by the Saudi Arabian government. In response to this last year, one of the sons of Khashoggi even announced on Twitter that his family forgives their father’s killing.

Salah Khashoggi, his son tweeted, “Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty.”

Comments on the report

When asked about the denial of the report finding’s by Saudi, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that, “the report speaks for itself” and that the Biden administration is “trying to bring transparency to this issue and share with the American people what we know”.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the US Congress accused MBS of the crime and said he “has blood on his hands”.

Schiff said, “The Biden administration should explore ways to ensure the repercussions for the brutal murder of Mr. Khashoggi go beyond those who carried it out, to the one who ordered it- the Crown himself. He has blood on his hands and that blood belonged to an American resident and journalist.” 

Hassan El-Tayyab, a legislative manager for the Quakers Friends Committee on National Legislation said, “He still has a lot of support in Saudi Arabia, but I think it will weaken his position and hopefully get him to change his behavior- which is exactly what we want- with regards to human rights activists inside Saudi Arabia and journalists inside Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi-US ties

Both the countries have witnessed friendly ties between them. Saudi Arabia is US’s one of the top Middle East allies. After Khashoggi’s death, despite large demands for accountability, the Trump administration had stood by MBS and Saudi Arabia. 

Even the report was held back by the Trump administration. Trump has even failed to act after the US Senate adopted a resolution in 2018 holding the crown prince responsible for the killing. 

Senator Lindsey Graham at that time has said, “You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS.”

But with coming of Joe Biden, a shift in the relation between the two countries id observed, where Biden administration is adamant to force Saudi to end war in Yemen. On this note, Biden had announced on February, that he would end US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen which is blamed for having created humanitarian crisis. He had even named the US diplomat Timothy Lenderking as a special envoy for the Yemen conflict.  

He even has temporarily stopped the sale of F-35 advanced fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates and precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. 

With the release of the reports on Khashoggi’s death, the relations between the two are expected to take yet another turn. 

Khushi Jain
I am a word nerd and a culture vulture. I've always been an aficionado of social work and women's activism. You'll find me talking about the failing democracies, economic slowdowns, inter-state tensions, and so on, almost all the time.