White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki stated that it was “the right decision” not to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and signaled that no sanctions will be imposed in the upcoming period.
Although it was stated in the intelligence report published in the USA that Mohammed bin Selman approved the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the reactions against his name not to be included in the announced sanctions list continue.
In his daily press conference, Psaki stated that the Khashoggi murder was a “terrible crime” and that US President Joe Biden considers it “a legal obligation” to publish the intelligence report.
Psaki, who argued that they took drastic steps against the people involved in the killing of Khashoggi, reminded that they imposed sanctions on 76 people from Saudi Arabia, including many high-ranking names.
Psaki noted that they believe that these steps will prevent such a murder from happening again.
“We want the war in Yemen to end”
Underlining that they have reorganized their relations with Saudi Arabia since the day they took office, Psaki said, “We are not taking a step back. We will continue to speak out against the steps to suppress the opposition or journalists. We do not support the war in Yemen, we want this war to end,” he said.
Psaki also signaled that there would be no sanctions against Mohammed bin Salman, stating that he reserves the right to take further steps regarding the Khashoggi murder. Psaki said, “In our history, no sanctions have been imposed on the leaders of the countries with which we have diplomatic relations under the administration of Democratic and Republican presidents.”
Defense of the “national interest”
Reminding of Biden’s promise to punish the perpetrators of the Khashoggi murder during the election period, Psaki noted that Biden took the necessary steps on Saudi Arabia through diplomacy.
Psaki said, “We have important relations with Saudi Arabia such as intelligence sharing, missile attacks and defense against threats. You know, global diplomacy requires acting in line with the national interests of the United States as well as asking the countries to account for their actions when necessary.”
Stating that Biden is waiting for future criticism on this issue, Psaki said, “Biden acts according to the advice of the national security team and thinks this is the right approach for our long-term interests.”
Intelligence report pointed to Mohammed bin Salman
The report announced by the US National Intelligence Directorate (DNI) that MBS approved the killing of Khashoggi made a big impact, but the Biden administration had not taken any sanctions against Mohammed bin Salman.
The Biden administration, which attracted reactions in the American public and media for not taking any action against Mohammed bin Salman, imposed sanctions on 76 Saudi citizens, including those who were stated to be involved in the murder.
Cemal Kaşıkçı, known for his criticism of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman and a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, never left the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018. It turned out that Khashoggi was later killed at the consulate and his body was dismembered.