December 7, 2022

Placing oil above human rights, White House announces President Biden will be traveling to Saudi Arabia next month, even though Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the gruesome murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia inspects Guard of Honour during Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi (February 20, 2019)
Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia inspects Guard of Honour during Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi (February 20, 2019)

Placing oil above human rights, the White House on Tuesday announced that President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be traveling to Saudi Arabia next month, even though a U.S. intelligence report released last year by the Biden administration concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Ukraine, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will visit the Middle East region from July 13-16 to reinforce the United States’ iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity and attend a Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan (known as the GCC+3).  He will also meet with counterparts from across the region, to advance U.S. security, economic, and diplomatic interests,” read a statement by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre added, “The President will begin his travel in Israel, where he will meet with Israeli leaders to discuss Israel’s security, prosperity, and its increasing integration into the greater region.  The President will also visit the West Bank to consult with the Palestinian Authority and to reiterate his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people. 

“The President will then travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is the current chair of the GCC and the venue for this gathering of nine leaders from across the region, at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation.  He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.  

“While in Saudi Arabia, the President will discuss a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues.  These include support to the UN-mediated truce in Yemen, which has led to the most peaceful period there since war began seven years ago.  He will also discuss means for expanding regional economic and security cooperation, including new and promising infrastructure and climate initiatives, as well as deterring threats from Iran, advancing human rights, and ensuring global energy and food security.  The President looks forward to outlining his affirmative vision for U.S. engagement in the region over the coming months and years.  

“This visit to the Middle East region culminates months of diplomacy and follows the President’s meeting with ASEAN leaders at the White House, his travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan, the Quad Summit, his hosting of the Summit of the Americas last week in Los Angeles, and his visit next week to Europe for the G7 and NATO Summits.”

Last year, a U.S. intelligence report released by the Biden administration concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the gruesome murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018.

The unclassified report was released to Congress and the public by the Director of the U.S. National Intelligence Avril Haines.

“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report said.

“We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision making 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 added.

“The release of this assessment is consistent with the law and delivers on the DNI’s commitment to submit an unclassified report to Congress,” read the press statement that accompanied the report.

It said the assessment has been coordinated with the Intelligence Community and “the information has been declassified to the greatest extent possible while still protecting the IC’s critical sources and methods. The full declassified assessment will be posted on dni.gov later today.”

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with Saudi Arabia’s king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ahead of the release of a damning report.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia to address the longstanding partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.

“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 President noted positively the recent release of several Saudi-American activists and Ms. Loujain al-Hathloul from custody, and affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law. The President told King Salman he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible. The two leaders affirmed the historic nature of the relationship and agreed to work together on mutual issues of concern and interest,” THE White House added.

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