The US President declassified documents revealing that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the murder of the Journalist and Saudi Government critic, Jamal Khashoggi, says PARVATHI SAJIV.
The United States Intelligence agencies concluded in a newly declassified report that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a hand in the murder of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
US intelligence concluded that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince #MohammedbinSalman “approved an operation in Istanbul to capture or kill #JamalKhashoggi" pic.twitter.com/ZBk3QTNciB
— The Leaflet (@TheLeaflet_in) February 26, 2021
The four-page report titled Assessing the Saudi Government’s Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (ODNI) It confirmed the widely known conclusions that the journalist was killed at Prince Mohammad’s behest in October 2018.
The report stated that “The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him.”
Jamal Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi journalist who covered stories including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden for various Saudi news organisations.
After having a fallout, Khashoggi went into a self-imposed exile in the US and wrote a monthly column in The Washington Post where he criticised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies.
Known as MBS, the prince has amassed powers, unlike previous rulers. As he pushes to diversify his oil-reliant economy, he also seeks international investors to be on board with the vision. He is the Defence Minister and Chairman of Public Investment Fund and has close ties to former US President Donald Trump, especially with his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was murdered. When the murder was confirmed, former President Donald Trump defended the US ties to Saudi Arabia, a key trading partner.
The released report mentioned, “Since 2017, the crown prince has had absolute control of the kingdom’s security and intelligence operations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the crown prince’s authorisation.”
Investigators of the murder had concluded that Khashoggi was forcibly restrained after a struggle and injected with a large amount of drug, which resulted in an overdose leading to death.
International communities condemned Khashoggi’s killing, such as Germany, who imposed travel bans on 18 Saudi nationals suspected of involvement in the murder back in 2018. The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis alleged to have been involved in Khashoggi’s murder, but not the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Recently, the US administration announced a visa ban targeting 76 Saudi Arabian citizens and had announced sanctions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The Khashoggi Ban allows the State Department to impose visa restrictions on individuals who, acting on behalf of a foreign government, are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten or harm journalists or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work, or who engage in such activities with respect to the families or other close associates of such persons,”
(Parvathi Sajiv is a student of the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Pune, and an intern at The Leaflet.)