US will not sanction Saudi prince despite implicating him in murder of Khashoggi
The United States on Friday for the first time publicly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, unveiling a raft of punitive measures but stopping short of directly targeting the powerful heir apparent.
The prince, who is de facto ruler of the longtime US ally and oil provider, “approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” said an intelligence report newly declassified by President Joe Biden‘s administration.
The report said that given Prince Mohammed‘s influence, it was “highly unlikely” that the 2018 murder could have taken place without his green light. The killing also fit a pattern of “the crown prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad.”
Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed who wrote for The Washington Post and was a US resident, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, then killed and cut into pieces.
The Treasury Department announced it was freezing assets and criminalising transactions with a former intelligence official as well as the Rapid Intervention Force, an elite unit that the report said “exists to defend the crown prince” and “answers only to him.”
In honor of the slain writer, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the “Khashoggi Act” that will ban entry into the United States of foreigners who threaten dissidents or harass reporters and their families and immediately placed 76 Saudis on the blacklist.
“We have made absolutely clear that extraterritorial threats and assaults by Saudi Arabia against activists, dissidents and journalists must end. They will not be tolerated by the United States,” Blinken said in a statement…..read more