How intelligence report could dent US-Saudi ties for years

How intelligence report could dent US-Saudi ties for years
The Saudi crown prince may seek to forge stronger relations with other countries, including Israel. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: The publication of the declassified US intelligence report into the murder of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi represents a blow to the prestige, power and international standing of one of the most powerful men in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The intelligence report could even have implications for the West’s dealings with Saudi Arabia for decades to come.

Asserting that the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known by his initials as MBS, was complicit in that gruesome murder in Saudi’s ambassy in Ankara in 2018, will make it harder than ever for Western leaders to be publicly associated with him as an individual.

Yet, as things stand today, the crown prince looks set to be the power on the Saudi throne for a very long time.

He is just 35 years old and still enjoys broad popularity amongst his country’s predominately young population.

President Biden has indicated he wants to deal with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, not Mohammed Bin Salma, but the king and his son operate in extremely close concert so this distinction is largely meaningless in practice.

King Salman is now 85-years-old and in poor health. He has already handed over most of his powers to MBS.

MBS’s links to the killing of Khashoggi have long been known to most Western intelligence agencies, they just were not made public.

Gina Haspel, who headed the CIA from 2018 until earlier this year, flew to Turkish capital Ankara where the country’s intelligence played her the chilling audio tape of Jamal Khashoggi’s last, desperate moments inside the Saudi Consulate as he was overpowered and suffocated by the agents sent from Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not US’s preferred choice to become the next king.

Anything that undermines the strategic United States-Saudi partnership is a gift to Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Iran.

You may read: US intel report: Saudi Crown Prince approved Khashoggi killing