USA and the Khashoggi murder: committed to the kingdom

As of: 02/27/2021 7:31 a.m.

The murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was hard to beat in terms of brutality. The order was given by the Saudi Crown Prince – the US government is convinced of that. But she doesn’t want to punish him directly.

From Julia Kastein,
ARD-Studio Washington

The US intelligence report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is short and clear. The new US director of the National Secret Services, Avril Haines, was able to sum up the essence in ten seconds on NPR: “Our assessment is: The operation to have Jamal Khashoggi caught and killed was approved by Mohammed Bin Salman.”

Julia Kastein

Julia Kastein
ARD-Studio Washington

The US government has never said this so clearly. On the contrary. Donald Trump and his Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo had always questioned the direct responsibility of the Saudi Crown Prince, number 1 in the line of succession in the kingdom, for the brutal murder in Istanbul. According to the motto: You don’t know anything exactly.

Jan Koch, ARD Washington, with details on the accusation of the Crown Prince

tagesschau24 9:15 p.m., February 26, 2021

The report has been around for a long time

The report had long been available in a more detailed and secret version: two years ago, Congress had asked the government by law to publish it. But only the Biden government has now done that. And the new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, sees the greatest gain in this: “The fact that we offer the transparency to shine a bright light on these events as the US government is in itself a significant measure.”

In addition, the US has taken other important initiatives: sanctions against a former Saudi intelligence chief and against the “Tiger Squad”, the Saudi death squad that reports directly to the Crown Prince and is said to have committed the murder. And the “Khashoggi ban”: entry bans that can be imposed in future for foreigners who take action against dissidents in the USA on behalf of another government – and which has already been used against 76 Saudi citizens.

According to the US secret services, Mohammend bin Salman supported “if necessary violent means” to “silence” Khashoggi.

Image: AFP

“We have important interests there”

However: there are initially no direct sanctions against the Crown Prince. Blinken explains it like this: “The relationship with Saudi Arabia is important. We have important interests there. And we remain committed to the defense of the kingdom. That is why we do not want to break off relations with our actions, but rather rebalance them.”

Joe Biden had promised during the election campaign to punish the murderers of Khashoggi: “Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered. I believe, on the orders of the Crown Prince. We will no longer sell them weapons. We will make them pay for them and make them outlawed make that they have long been. ”

Biden’s party friends are dissatisfied

That has long since softened. And even Biden’s party friends are dissatisfied. Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence, said: “It is clearly a misunderstanding for me to punish those who obeyed the orders to kill, but not those who gave the order.”

The least is to ostracize the Crown Prince, not to speak to him any more and not to invite him to the USA either. Other Democrats are considering whether Congress should take punitive action against the Saudi Kingdom.

Khashoggi’s supporters hoped for clearer signs

Khashoggi’s friends and colleagues in Washington hope that the US government will step up again. Fred Hiatt is Head of Opinion at the Washington Post. Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia, was one of his authors: “Now that we have a government that is committed to democratic values, the question is: what will it do to change the calculations of such dictators? And the next one Sometimes when someone like the Crown Prince thinks about killing a peaceful journalist, he doesn’t. And so far I have not seen anything that says to the Crown Prince: It would be better not to. ”

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