The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, “approved an operation in Istanbul (Turkey) to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” This is the assessment that the United States intelligence services collect in a report declassified this Friday by the Joe Biden Administration.
The report is known the day after the US president spoke by phone with King Salman, to whom he showed his intention to work for a bilateral relationship “as strong and transparent as possible,” according to the subsequent statement from the White House. He also stressed his defense of human rights, although the official note doesn’t mention Khashoggi’s name.
The news website ‘Axios’ had advanced that the report would be released last Wednesday and that it would coincide with the conversation between Biden and the Saudi monarch. However, the White House has finally delayed the release of the document pointing to the country’s strongman until after the two heads of state held the conversation to cushion the impact.
Already in 2019, it was known that a CIA report concluded that Prince Bin Salman was ultimately responsible for the death of the journalist, who was writing a column in the newspaper “The Washington Post.” Likewise, a UN investigation established that the murder of Khashoggi was the result of “an elaborate plan” and “premeditated” under the supervision of senior officials of the Saudi crown, and pointed to the responsibility of Bin Salman.
The version of the report now declassified by the US indicates to 21 individuals that US intelligence has “high confidence” that they were accomplices or responsible for the death of Khashoggi on behalf of Prince Bin Salman.
“Support for violent measures against dissidents”
“We consider that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul (Turkey) to capture or kill the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States said in the report, which is posted on their website.
“We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Mohamed bin Salman’s protection service in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for the use of violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi, “he says.
Likewise, the document highlights that Bin Salman has in his hands since 2017 the “absolute control of the security and intelligence organizations of the Kingdom, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the authorization of the Prince. Inheritor”.
Riyadh has denied any involvement of the heir to the crown, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Biden reveals with the publication of the declassified report the turn in the close relationship that Donald Trump had with Riyadh, although the new president tries to ensure that his new attitude doesn’t mean losing a key ally in the troubled Middle East region .
The president wants to resume the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, the main rival of the Saudis in the area, while stressing to Riyadh the defense of human rights and withdrawing support in the Yemen war.
Declassified by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines
Date: February 26, 2021
“Assessing the Saudi Government’s Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi”
Consistent with Sections 1277 and 5714 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 116-92) and with the commitment made during her January 19, 2021 nomination hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines today declassified an Intelligence Community assessment regarding the Saudi Government’s role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.