The American newspaper (Washington Post) wondered about extending the red carpet to Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, even though US President Joe Biden promised that he would “not spoil tyrannical rulers.”
During my visits to the United States, I held an expanded session of talks at the US Department of Defense with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl. pic.twitter.com/GntRYbw658
— Khalid bin Salman Khalid bin Salman (@kbsalsaud) July 7, 2021
The newspaper said that President Biden promised during his election campaign to dispense with the pampering offered by President Donald Trump to the dictators in the Middle East.
Biden vowed there would be “no more blank checks” for the likes of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt.
As for Saudi Arabia’s leaders, he said, “It will actually make them pariahs as they are.”
He said there is “very little social recovery value in the current government in Saudi Arabia”.
So why, last week, did Biden roll out the red carpet for Prince Khalid bin Salman, the brother of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman?
The newspaper reported that the former ambassador to Washington was directly involved in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, yet he was hosted in a range of high-level meetings, including with Biden’s national security adviser, secretary of state and defense minister.
The (Washington Post) said: This is not the reception you would expect for an outcast.
She adds: Of course, the United States still has security interests with Saudi Arabia.
According to the State Department, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to Khalid bin Salman about “regional security issues,” including efforts to end the disastrous war in Yemen unleashed by the Saudis more than six years ago.
If it was necessary to host a high-ranking Saudi official to address these matters, the White House could have invited the Secretary of State. According to (Washington Post)
Instead, Biden chose to rehabilitate a member of the royal family who left Washington in disgrace in 2019 after publicly insisting that reports regarding Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul were “completely false and baseless.”
The CIA concluded that Khalid bin Salman played a major role in the killing by urging Khashoggi to order the papers he needed at the Istanbul consulate, rather than the embassy in the capital.
Biden refuses to meet with the crown prince
Biden has so far refused to meet directly with Mohammed bin Salman.
The administration released a report concluding that the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has spoken with MBS by phone on multiple occasions.
The (Washington Post) argues that by allowing his brother to tour Washington, the White House has brought Mohammed bin Salman a step closer to full political recovery.
The Saudi crown prince has done nothing to deserve this: he continues to arrest, torture and imprison peaceful critics of his rule. According to the newspaper
Despite pressure from Washington, he refused to punish or even sideline the top advisor who oversaw the Khashoggi operation, as well as the arrest and torture of women who defended the right to drive. US efforts to broker an end to the war in Yemen have not succeeded.
The newspaper concluded by saying: The success of Saudi Arabia in exhausting the administration, and the similar progress of the Sisi regime in Egypt, sends a message to the most ruthless autocrats in the world: Biden may speak of human rights and the importance of ostracizing those who bluntly violate them. But, in the end, she will still attend meetings at the White House.
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