By Aaron Miller-
US Representative Ilhan Omar introduced a bill on Tuesday to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a radical step in stark contrast with the position of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden.
Biden administration last week announced sanctions on dozens of Saudi officials and individuals believed to be connected to Khashoggi’s brutal killing in October 2018. but stopped short of punishing the crown prince, concluded by U.S Intelligence to have approved an operation to “capture or kill” the journalist.
Pelosi has expressed an interest in recalibrating the relationship, adding that the House would introduce legislation to honour Khashoggi’s memory.” Her comments are consistent with that of Biden’s office not “rupture” the US-Saudi relationship.
The legislation, called the Mohammed bin Salman Must be Sanctioned, or MBS MBS, Act, includes asset freezes to block and prohibit all the crown prince’s transactions related to the United States. It also blocks his entrance to the country.
Crown Prince Mohammed is the heir apparent to his 85-year-old father, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and is considered the kingdom’s de facto ruler with enormous power and influence.
Omar said in a statement Tuesday that sanctioning Crown Prince Mohammed is “a test of our humanity.”
“If the United States of America truly supports freedom of expression, democracy and human rights, there is no reason not to sanction Mohammed bin Salman — a man our own intelligence found to have approved the murder of U.S. resident and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” she said.
“Every minute the Crown Prince escapes punishment is a moment where U.S. interests, human rights, and the lives of Saudi dissenters are at risk,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has dismissed the U.S intelligence report’s findings, it’s permanent representative to the United Nations stating that it “does not rise to anywhere close to proving the accusation beyond reasonable doubt”.
“The [Crown] Prince courageously accepted moral responsibility, presented the accused to the justice system, and pledged to reform the intelligence organizations. Case closed! Let us all move forward to tackle the serious business of world issues!!” Abdallah Al-Mouallimi tweeted.
Saudi Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman to face sanction
That defensive statement is mot shared by the world’s general public, let alone the citizens of Saudi Arabia who know their own leaders and understand their capabilities and mechanisms of operations.
The Biden administration has vowed to prohibit travel to the US for some of
Murdered: Jamaal Khashoggi Image: cnn.com
the 18 people identified in the ODNI report, but will not give their names. It is unlikely for MBS to be among those blocked, as the crown prince is the de facto Saudi head of state.