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Thursday, 13 May 2021

MbS approved Khashoggi operation -U.S. intel

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MbS approved Khashoggi operation -U.S. intel
MbS approved Khashoggi operation -U.S. intel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved of an operation to capture or kill dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018, according to a declassified intelligence assessment released on Friday.

Freddie Joyner has more.

A declassified U.S. intelligence report out Friday says Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved of an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018, in a manner choreographed to limit damage to U.S.-Saudi ties.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of the crown prince's policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the crown prince in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

His remains have not been found.

Riyadh has denied any involvement by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.

In the report, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said: "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 Muhammad bin Salman's protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi..." In declassifying the report, U.S. President Joe Biden reversed his predecessor Donald Trump's refusal to release it.

The administration will announced sanctions and visa bans on Friday targeting Saudi Arabian citizens, but it will not impose sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, U.S. officials said.

This comes as Biden's administration reassesses its relationship with the kingdom.

The U.S. is considering the cancellation of arms deals with Saudi Arabia that pose human rights concerns while limiting future military sales to "defensive" weapons.

However, Biden is trying to tread a fine line to preserve ties with the kingdom as he seeks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with its regional rival Iran and to address other challenges including fighting Islamist extremism and advancing Arab-Israeli ties.

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