Saudi Arabia rejects Khashoggi report, Biden announces ‘major change’

‘Incorrect and intolerable’, with that wording, the authorities of Saudi Arabia reject the American report on the murder of journalist Khashoggi. In it, Crown Prince Muhammad is named as the ultimate responsible for that murder.

US President Biden announced in an interview that the relationship between the two countries is about to change. In doing so, Biden referred to his phone call yesterday with the Saudi king Salman.

โ€œ I made it clear that the rules are going to change,โ€ he said in the interview with Univision. Biden states that he will announce โ€œsignificant changesโ€ today and Monday. โ€œWe‘re going to hold them accountable for human rights violations.โ€

Responsible, but not yet punishment

Despite the conclusions in the US intelligence report, MBS, as the Crown Prince is also known, has not yet been sanctioned by the US. Unlike dozens of other Saudis involved in the case.

The report states that MBS must have authorized the operation involving the murder of the journalist. This is based, among other things, on the involvement of a top advisor and other relatives of MBS in the murder. In addition, the Crown Prince has absolute control over the security forces and has more often silenced dissidents, says in the report.

โ€œNo tuxedo gunโ€

But, Saudi royalty commentators conclude: โ€œThere is no smoking gun.โ€ Another adds: โ€œThis small report proves above all that there is no hard evidence against the Crown Prince. Local newspapers didn’t write about the investigative report. Shortly after the publication of the document today, the hashtag ‘We are all Mohammed Bin Salman’ was circulated in Saudi Arabia.

UN human rights rapporteur Agnes Callamard calls on the US to impose sanctions against Bin Salman. โ€œI appeal to the US and the international community to take action against the ongoing crime against Khashoggi and his loved ones,โ€ says Callamard. โ€œTo ensure that all perpetrators are held accountable and to prevent future murders of journalists.โ€

โ€œFake law affairsโ€

Saudi Arabia insists that the perpetrators of the murder of Khashoggi have already been punished. A group of men would have killed the journalist entirely on their own, is the official lecture. Death sentences for the guilty men were eventually converted to cell sentences up to twenty years last year.

โ€œ The international community should not allow it to remain complicit in fake lawsuits,โ€ the UN rapporteur referred to these processes.

According to analysts, the likelihood of the US imposing penalties against the crown prince is very small. For that, Saudi Arabia is too important an ally of the United States, both in terms of trade in oil and arms and in the fight against the influence of regional superpower Iran.