Jamal Khashoggi's Ghost Returns to Haunt Mohammed bin Salman
President Biden is expected to release the US intelligence report fingering Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal killing and dismemberment of then Washington Post correspondent, Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in 2018.The report, an unclassified summary of findings across the intelligence community produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), will be made public as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter.
Plans for the release come as U.S.-Saudi relations have tumbled to a new low in recent weeks, with the administration canceling arms sales, criticizing human rights abuses and the harassment of dissidents, and pledging to “recalibrate” ties with the kingdom.
“The president’s counterpart is King Salman,” the crown prince’s aging father, she said, “and I expect that, in appropriate time, [Biden] would have a conversation with him.”
The release of the Khashoggi report may make that a fraught exchange. “I think it’s going to put Biden on the spot,” said David Ottaway, a longtime Saudi expert at the Wilson Center. “He’s going to have to define what his relationship is going to be with the leadership, and what steps he’s going to take in response.”
“There are so many things weighing on the relationship, and I feel it’s going further south,” Ottaway said.