Biden isn’t going to make Saudis a ‘pariah’ despite Khashoggi, says foreign policy expert

Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon advised CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that President Joe Biden is not going to make Saudi Arabia “a pariah” as a result of it could suggest chopping off the financial and army relationship that the U.S. has with the Saudis.

“The world economy still needs that Saudi oil even if we don’t need it here in the U.S. per se, and the Saudis need our military protection, and we don’t want them to lose a war against Iran,” O’Hanlon defined throughout a Thursday night interview. “We are not going to make the Saudis a pariah nation, if what you hear by that word, as I do, is North Korea or Iran itself or some other extremist government.”

In 2018 NBC News realized that the CIA concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the hit squad that lured Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, killed him, and lower his physique into items. In November 2019 Biden promised to make the Saudis “pay” for the killing of Khashoggi throughout a Democratic debate.

“We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are,” Biden stated. 

O’Hanlon defined that the U.S.-Saudi relationship has endured earlier exams, together with the September 11, 2001, terror assaults. 

“This is a relationship, after all, that’s gone through 9/11, when we know that the Saudis tolerated the Wahhabi strain of Islam and a preaching approach in many of its mosques that actually motivated a lot of the hijackers and other extremists, but the two sides need each other,” stated the foreign policy expert. 

Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state within the Obama-Biden Administration and the chief director of the American Jewish Congress, advised “The News with Shepard Smith” that Biden understands that American-Saudi relations are “too important” to lose.

“Biden will work to maintain that bond at the strategic level, with the due respect that an ally of nearly eight decades deserves,” stated Rubin. “But it’s also quite likely that he will communicate the types of concerns about Saudi activities in Yemen, on human rights, and the killing of Khashoggi that motivated him to label Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ on the presidential campaign trail.”

The White House confirmed President Joe Biden spoke to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud because it prepares to declassify and launch a U.S. intelligence evaluation that can reportedly implicate the king’s son, MBS, within the brutal homicide of Khashoggi. 

O’Hanlon advised host Shepard Smith that Biden’s telephone name with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was a type of “symbolic pushback” as opposed to talking to MBS. He famous, nevertheless, due to the king’s age, “the king may not last that long, so he’s going to have to figure out how to still deal with Mohammed bin Salman.”

Rubin warned that it will likely be very troublesome for the U.S. to have direct diplomatic relations with MBS. 

“With the release of the intelligence report about his culpability in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Congress will only increase the pressure – in a bipartisan manner – to block U.S. engagement with him, his assets, and the institutions he controls,” stated Rubin. “This is only the beginning of the hard questions, and now that Donald Trump is no longer president, he won’t have anyone in the White House to protect him.”

The former President refused to launch the intelligence report and publicly sowed doubt that MBS or the Saudis had been concerned in Khashoggi’s killing. Trump extolled weapons gross sales between the 2 international locations. In 2018 he even held up a chart within the Oval Office displaying the billions of {dollars} in army {hardware} the Saudi authorities deliberate to buy. 

O’Hanlon advised Smith that the “symbolic price” in opposition to MBS ought to be as excessive as it may be.

“I would try to treat him, personally, like a little bit of a persona non grata,” stated O’Hanlon. “He’s a guy who likes to be rubbing elbows in the corridors of power and high economics of finance, and I think we should at least deprive him of that.”

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