Biden faces calls to ‘strike a blow’ for Saudi human rights

Biden faces calls to 'strike a blow' for Saudi human rights
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary The Dissident. Photograph: Briarcliff Entertainment via AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: US President Joe Biden is expected to call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, as his administration prepares to release a declassified intelligence assessment that will reportedly name the royal’s son and heir as complicit in the grisly murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Mr Biden is forced to ‘strike a blow’ for Saudi human rights.

On Wednesday, the White House confirmed that President Biden’s call to the 85-year-old ruler would take place “soon” and that the declassified report on journalist Khashoggi’s murder was being readied for release. Biden, who said he has read the report, is insisting that he speak only to the king.

Citing four officials familiar with the matter, Reuters news agency reported late on Wednesday that the assessment would find Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved and likely ordered the murder.

The revelation comes as the White House is facing calls by Saudi dissidents and human rights activists to “strike a blow” against Saudi human rights violations with new sanctions that they say could help rein in Prince Mohammed’s crackdown on dissidents and turn the page on the Trump administration’s “embrace of despots”.

Media reports have in the past said that United States intelligence agencies had a medium- to high-degree of confidence that the crown prince and de facto ruler was responsible for ordering Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate.

Khalid Aljabri, a Saudi who is living in exile in Canada and is the son of Saad Aljabri, said: “The release of the report is a long-awaited step that must be accompanied by accountability to ensure that this barbaric crime doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Aljabri was a former senior official and aide to Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince who is now in jail.

You may read: Justin Trudeau says US leadership has been ‘sorely missed’