By Bhavya Surapaneni
Castle Pines, Colorado
New evidence on the 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi has been unearthed, and the Biden administration released an official report in late February that directly incriminated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who approved Khashoggi’s assassination.
The Biden administration’s release of the report came after two and a half years since Khashoggi’s death in October 2018. Khashoggi’s death made national and international headlines at the time, sparking controversy and outrage at Saudi Arabia for allowing the incident to occur.
Khashoggi was a well known Saudi Arabian journalist and public figure, serving as a correspondent for various Saudi Arabian newspapers, an editor-in-chief of a daily publication and eventually a columnist for the Washington Post. In his earlier years, Khashoggi was actually acquainted with the Saudi royal family and worked alongside the government, according to BBC, but his trajectory shifted. Khashoggi’s later work was considered progressive, as he condoned and began to partake in criticism of conservative practices and the Saudi government. His criticism included Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who, according to the New York Times, said he would “use a bullet” on Khashoggi if he didn’t cease his denunciation of the Saudi government.
A year after Prince Salman’s statement, Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. He had entered the building to obtain legal documents for his marriage to his fianceé at the time, but he never exited the building. Turkey says that Khashoggi was murdered, dismembered, and then disposed of, according to Al Jazeera. According to Bloomberg News, the day after the incident, Prince Salman said that the government had no involvement in his death and that he had left the consulate quickly after a short visit.
Arrests and trials ensued in the following weeks, and recordings of the time leading up to Khashoggi’s death were uncovered. Legal action was taken against various officials involved in the assassination. However, months later in June 2019, the United Nations released a report that claimed that Khashoggi’s death was an “extrajudicial killing for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible," according to BBC. The report also found evidence that linked the state to the murder.
In February, the link of state involvement in Khashoggi’s death resurfaced. The Biden administration released an official U.S. intel report on the assassination in late February, and the report states that Prince Mohammed approved the murder, as per the New York Times. The report also said that a team of elite operatives who reported to Prince Salman were behind it.
Despite numerous calls for the U.S. to press some form of consequence, the Biden administration has yet to act directly against the prince. The U.S. imposed sanctions against those involved in the killing or those who guard the prince, but nothing against Prince Salman himself.
According to Business Insider, the administration is not taking action against Prince Salman to maintain diplomacy between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.