https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/02/26/white-house-ups-pressure-mbs-new-report Written by: Austine Jobe
In 2018, Jamal Khashoggi a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi royal family was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This drew outrage from the international media and US lawmakers, and investigations questioned the role of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the 35-year-old crown prince.
In a report the CIA released on February 26th, they ultimately decided that MBS was involved. They looked at many sources of intelligence, such as a phone call from MBS’s brother to Khashoggi. He told Khashoggi that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman and assured him that it would be safe. Ultimately, their main reasoning for implicating MBS was that he’s so powerful and controls so much of Saudi intelligence that there’s simply no way he wouldn’t have been informed about this, regardless of whether the order came from him.
The question now is what happens next? As the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has always been influential in the global energy market. But its recent push to diversify away from fossil fuels means it’s become a muscular player in defense, high tech, and even entertainment. After Khashoggi’s murder, corporate America tried to distance itself from the kingdom, but pressure soon died down, partly because Trump tried to squash any tensions that would interfere with the US-Saudi relationship. Looking ahead, although Biden is aiming to “recalibrate” the US’ stance toward Saudi Arabia, he’s still tiptoeing around. Supposedly, the president isn’t planning on directly penalizing MBS for his role in Khashoggi’s murder because the price of alienating a geopolitical ally is “too high.” However, the general public, myself included, believes that no matter the price, there needs to be justice for Khashoggi, or it will show that the United States will let its powerful allies literally get away with murder.