On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s administration tried to insulate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from a lawsuit over his role in the death of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
In response to a lawsuit brought by Khashoggi’s fiancée and the human rights organization he established, Democracy for the Arab World Now, the Biden administration has stated that MBS’ role as a high-ranking foreign official “allows immunity.”
The move is a stunning about face from Biden’s previous rhetoric, which emphasized that bin Salman would be held accountable for his role in Khashoggi’s death.
Biden had previously claimed in 2019 that he desired to “make [Saudi Arabia] pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are” after U.S. intelligence claimed that it believed MBS was directly responsible for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden said during the summer that he challenged Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a visit to the nation, but Saudi Arabia refuted the account.
Biden subsequently stated that he informed MBS that he considered MBS responsible for the murder, MBS later attempted to refute those charges.
Bin Salman went on to claim that all people involved in the crime were prosecuted.
U.S. Saudi relations now seem to be at an all time low, after the Middle Eastern Country decided to effectively raise the global price of oil, a move that pleased Vladimir Putin’s Russia but enraged the Biden administration, the latter of whom is still desperately attempting to fight inflation at home.
Biden’s decision to allow Bin Salman to have immunity in the case may be an attempt on his administration’s part to repair ties to the influential and oil rich gulf kingdom.
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