US intelligence agencies have concluded in a new report that Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by a Saudi strike team operating under the command of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
The unclassified report released on Friday confirmed the role that senior U.S. intelligence officials believe the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia played in the 2018 murder of Khashoggi.
“We believe that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the office of the US director of national intelligence said.
“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has exercised absolute control over the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials have carried out an operation of this nature without the permission of the Crown Prince.
The 59-year-old was a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who had criticized the Saudi government. He was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Saudi officials have denied that MBS played a role in the assassination.
Here’s how the world reacted to the release of the four-page report.
Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
In a statement issued by the Saudi state news agency SPA, the kingdom’s foreign ministry said: “The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects… the assessment contained in the report regarding the leadership of the Kingdom and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions. . “
The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the assessment contained in the report submitted to the United States Congress regarding the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi.https://t.co/DGfg4OAceT#SPAGOV pic.twitter.com/r5Skr7QRh1
– SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) February 26, 2021
United Arab Emirates:
The UAE has defended Saudi Arabia’s position, the official UAE news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
The UAE Foreign Ministry “has expressed its confidence and support for the Saudi judicial decisions, which affirm the kingdom’s commitment to apply the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and to hold everyone involved in this case accountable.” , said WAM.
The British Foreign Office reiterated that the UK had always been clear that “the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime”.
In a statement, he said: “We called for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation to hold those responsible to account and to impose sanctions on 20 Saudis implicated in the murder.
“The foreign minister raised the issue during his visit to Riyadh last year, and we continue to raise it in our engagements with the Saudi government.”
United Nations Human Rights Investigator Agnes Callamard:
In a Facebook post, Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the United States should be the first to ensure accountability.
“With the publication of the American report, confirming the guilt of Saudi officials at the highest level, the United States should now take the initiative to ensure accountability for this crime and put in place international mechanisms to prevent and punish such crimes. acts in the future. Callamard wrote.
“The United States government should impose sanctions against the crown prince, as it has done for the other authors – targeting his personal property but also his international commitments,” she added.
“I call on the Saudi government to reveal whether his remains were destroyed on site or how and where they were disposed of. Those responsible know the details all too well, and in the face of the Saudis’ unreasonable silence, the international community must press for all facts to be fully disclosed. “
Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the U.S. government to reassess its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“The United States government must reassess and recalibrate the relationship with Saudi Arabia, given the findings of this report, which are part of a worrying pattern of human rights violations in the Kingdom,” Pelosi said. in a press release.
“The United States Congress supports President Biden in promoting transparency regarding human rights violations and in supporting partnerships that advance our security, uphold our values and protect our interests. We support the measures taken by the Administration to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, especially with regard to Global Magnitsky and visa denials for perpetrators of human rights violations. “
This heinous event is an affront to the rule of law and fundamental human rights. We need to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia. We stand with @POTUS by promoting transparency and supporting partnerships that advance our security, uphold our values and protect our interests.
– Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 26, 2021
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff:
Adam Schiff, Democratic Congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said MBS had “blood on his hands.”
“The Biden administration should explore ways to ensure that the repercussions of Mr. Khashoggi’s brutal murder go beyond those who committed it, to whoever ordered it – the crown prince himself,” Schiff said.
“He has blood on his hands and that blood belonged to an American resident and journalist. The president is not expected to meet or speak with the crown prince, and the administration should consider sanctions on the assets of the Saudi Public Investment Fund he controls that are linked to the crime.
Democracy for the Arab World Now:
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the US-based rights group founded by Khashoggi, thanked the Biden administration for its “transparency,” but urged the imposition of sanctions against MBS.
“Thank you, Joe Biden, for the transparency on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Now we need sanctions against the responsible Saudi prince.
Group executive director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement: “The DNI report today confirms what we have long known to be true: Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the execution of Jamal Khashoggi.
“President Biden should now keep his promise to hold MBS accountable for this murder by imposing at least the same sanctions on him as those imposed on his guilty underlings and by ending arms transfers to Saudi Arabia which would be controlled by an unelected brutal. murderer.”
She added, “The release of the DNI report is only a small part of the evidence we are seeking from the US government into Khashoggi’s murder, including US officials close to MBS who potentially facilitated a cover-up.”
Khashoggi’s fiance Hatice Cengiz took to Twitter and posted using a hashtag. She wrote: “#justiceforjamal“.
– Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) February 26, 2021
Washington Post CEO:
Washington Post editor and CEO Fred Ryan said: “From the day this innocent journalist was brutally murdered, we have called for two important actions: that the facts be revealed and that those responsible be held to report. accounts.
“Today’s release of the report shed light on the facts. Now, the man who authorized this brutal murder must be fully responsible. “