The New York Sun posted an article today about the recent efforts of the Biden administration to improve its record on human rights (after the President’s statements about China, Hong Kong, etc.) by going after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. First of all it needs to be mentioned that Khashoggi had some fairly close connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (see article here). Secondly, it needs to be mentioned that any criticism of the Saudis and their government would be welcomed by Iran.
The article reports:
In releasing a three-year-old American intelligence report that blames the Crown Prince for the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, and then immediately saying he won’t penalize the Crown Prince, Mr. Biden has opened himself to relentless pressure from democrats on the left of his party to do something more to punish the Saudi Crown Prince.
The President’s petty insistence that he will speak only with King Salman, 85, and not his 35-year-old son, the primary power in the kingdom, can’t hold. So complete has Price Mohammed already taken control of the levers of power that Saudis call him “Mr. Everything.” The ailing King could die during the Biden presidency, making his son king.
Meantime, Mr. Biden has humiliated the Crown Prince, but at a price. The Crown Prince has demonstrated repeatedly in recent years that he believes the best defense is an aggressive offense. As a result, he sometimes acts and then confronts the often unpleasant consequences of his actions — whether the death of Khashoggi or the war in Yemen.
…For one thing, the Biden team is exposing its own hypocrisy. The President says his number one foreign policy goal is to talk to Iranian leaders to secure a new nuclear deal. The blood on the hands of Iranian leaders who imprison and execute critics doesn’t seem to bother the president. At least he hasn’t called them out.
By contrast, Saudi Arabia, is undergoing a “reassessment” of its relations with the United States. Already the president has blocked our arms sales for the war in Yemen. Ironically, he supported the Yemen war when it began during the Obama administration though he now calls it a human rights disaster.
Riyadh would love to get out of the war, which has cost it an estimated $100 billion already. The Houthis and their Iranian backers, though, want to bleed Saudi Arabia with an eye to destabilizing the kingdom. So President Biden’s envoy likely won’t succeed at ending the war.
President Biden is continuing his unbroken streak of being wrong on every foreign policy issue he has weighed in on since he joined Congress.