Senior Biden administration officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, reportedly met with Saudi’s Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman(MBS), and former Ambassador to the United States. Prince Khalid’s high level welcome to the United States has naturally shocked and angered human rights activists because our very own CIA pinpointed him as one of the masterminds behind the killing of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Specifically, the CIA said that it was Prince Khalid who lured Khashoggi into the Istanbul consulate where he was later killed.
Washington Post Columnist and CNN Political Analyst Josh Rogin told New Day host John Berman:“The Biden administration is trying to have it’s cake and eat it too. They want to say that they are being tough on Saudi Arabia for it’s atrocious and worsening human rights record, at the same time they want to do business with Saudi Arabia on areas of mutual interest, and I get that. But the way that they decided to do that was by welcoming back the former Ambassador, Khalid bin Salman, the brother of Mohammed bin Salman[MBS], the guy who the CIA asserts was responsible for the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And the allegation by the U.S. intelligence services, is that his brother Khalid lured him into the Istanbul consulate where he was later murdered…..So it seems like a weird thing to invite the guy who was connected to the murder back to have a bunch of pictures and give him the red carpet treatment, and let him meet with Defense Secretary and the National Security Adviser. It sends the signal to the Saudis, and to the region, and to the human rights community frankly, that the Biden administration’s protestations against Saudi atrocities are just that, just words, and not actions. It signals a return to business as usual….It also insults the legacy of Jamal Khashoggi, and reneges on Biden’s promise to deliver justice to Jamal and his family.”
Bottom line folks, for a Biden administration that is usually very fine-tuned and on-message, one has to admit that granting Prince Khalid a high profile welcome despite the CIA’s findings on Khashoggi’s murder, was quite an uncharacteristic blunder by the administration. More importantly, this blunder unnecessarily dings the Biden administration’s stance and messaging on human rights. Surely somebody at Biden’s White House should have foreseen and prevented this “unforced error” of immense magnitude.
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