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France 24

The Khashoggi Case: The International Confiscation of Muhammad bin Salman

By publishing the CIA report on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, which represents a major bargaining chip for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Biden administration appears to have recorded its rejection of the Riyadh strongman. Back to the declared slip. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was right in his fear that Democratic candidate Joe Biden would enter the White House at Donald Trump’s expense, while he had gambled everything on the re-election of the American billionaire, which was one of the accusations. The day after Washington declassified an American intelligence report on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, accusing him of “verifying the authenticity” of the “arrest or killing” of the Saudi journalist, Mohammed bin Salman appears as the biggest loser, on the diplomatic scene in the Middle East, to elect Joe Biden to head United State. The Democrat who wants to “recalibrate” relations between Washington and Riyadh by cutting him off from Trump-era diplomacy in the region is unprecedented. He hides his hostility to the young prince, especially during the presidential campaign, and his public disavowal of international repercussions, and if Washington decides not to punish Muhammad bin Salman, then his public repudiation of the detained president. The international commitment it has just imposed on him destroys the efforts of King Salman’s son to rehabilitate his image and that of his country, which has already been severely damaged. It is a severe blow to someone in the West who has presented himself as an open and reformed prince, bent on liberating a strict and gently conservative kingdom. King Salman appointed him Minister of Defense, then Crown Prince in June 2017 by King Salman, in the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since January 2015, Mohammed bin Salman, who has been described as reckless and hasty, has seen a phenomenal rise. Thanks in particular to his project to transform the Saudi economy – which relies heavily on oil – and his commitment to fighting corruption and terrorism, but his initiatives were soon overshadowed by his brutal methods of governance and authoritarian deviation into the country. Within months, he became the de facto ruler of the Wahhabi kingdom, moving it from a consensus-based monarchy among the various branches of the royal family to a personal system in which powers were concentrated in his hands. They were announced and make us somewhat forget the hasty arrests carried out in the Kingdom against members of the royal family, human rights activists and intellectuals, and the violations that Jamal Khashoggi has denounced several times, who went to the United States since 2017, in relentless editorials published in a newspaper. The Washington Post, but above all, was the international storm that was unleashed by the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, on October 2, 2018, which will tarnish the image of Mohammed bin Salman, and return to the fore. Media scene, the heavy losses of the Wahhabi regime in terms of rights de lance. Restriction of freedom of expression and association, prohibition of peaceful assembly, lack of religious freedom outside of Islam, unfair trials, discrimination against women and the Shiite minority, the practice of torture and arbitrary death sentences … was the oppressive nature of the Saudi monarchy, governed by a strict version of Islamic law, regarding With whatever internal challenge is the system always prevailing, and the situation has become tighter since the crown prince’s ascension. An embarrassing ally for the United States on the diplomatic level, the balance sheet that is supposed to legitimize Mohammed bin Salman at the international level is just as passive, while at this level as well, try the hard way. Whether it was the Yemeni quagmire that became Vietnam at the gates of the Kingdom, whether it was the muscular embargo aimed at bending Qatar, or even the coup against Lebanon regarding the true false resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri … None of his initiatives enabled the Saudis to strengthen their positions on The regional arena towards Iran, “this was summarized a few months ago by Karim Sadr, a political scientist and consultant specializing in Gulf affairs, in an interview with France 24. In Yemen in particular, where the fighting began in March 2015, the Houthi Shiite rebels, with the support of Tehran, resisting the international coalition, while the conflict sparked what the United Nations describes as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” In May 2017 by US President Donald Trump, then he visited Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman linked his diplomacy with that of the Trump administration, and focused like him on the Iranian threat. He is close to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law in charge of the Middle East file. Distinguished relations and direct access to the Oval Office, which would be very useful to him at the time of the Khashoggi case, and while he now appears as an embarrassing ally of the United States, President Donald Trump defends him personally, to ensure the Saudi guarantee for the “deal of the century” in the Middle East and to open diplomatic relations between countries. Certain Gulf states and Israel. But the American press and the democratic camp, on their part, do not show mercy to the son of the Saudi monarch, who ends up assuming “all responsibility” for the murder of the journalist while denying that he is the sponsor. In October 2018, the American magazine Newsweek unveiled an unpublished – undated – interview with Jamal Khashoggi, in which the latter considered Mohammed bin Salman to be nothing but a “reactionary tribal leader” who wields “authoritarian” power and does not seek the Saudi regime’s openness to democracy. The journalist also confirmed in this interview that he feared for his life, and Riyadh has not yet revealed the whereabouts of the journalist’s body, who did not appear after an administrative meeting at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, on October 2, 2018. After the CIA report was issued, he is no longer the strongman of the Wahhabi monarchy. Untouched. The arrival of Joe Biden at the White House, which has multiplied the unfavorable decisions of Mohammed bin Salman (the hand that extended to Tehran aimed at the possible return of the Iran nuclear deal, and restrictions on arms shipments to Riyadh), undoubtedly caused the prince to lose the sense of impunity he enjoyed. During the Trump era, it remains to be seen what will be the future of Mohammed bin Salman within the kingdom, and whether the US administration does not initiate a process aimed at its downfall.

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