MBS hits back at Biden after president takes a stand against Saudi prince over Khashoggi

At the meeting, bin Salman, also known as MBS, denied responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder at the Royal Consulate in Istanbul. Biden said he indicated he disagreed with MBS based on U.S. intelligence assessments, the source said.
In response to Biden’s reference to Khashoggi, MBS cited the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Abu Ghraib prison by the US military and the May killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shirin Abu Akle in the occupied West Bank as incidents that reflected badly on the US, the source said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir echoed this sentiment in an interview with CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer shortly after the end of the meeting in which Jubeir participated.

“We investigated, punished and make sure that this does not happen again,” Jubair said, answering a question about the killing of Khashoggi. “This is what countries do. This is what the US did when the Abu Ghraib mistake was made.”

Abu Ghraib prison was a detention center for captured Iraqis by the US Army from the start of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 until the prison closed in 2006. In 2004, a collection of graphic images from the prison depicting the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners was leaked. US military personnel. Eleven American soldiers were convicted of crimes related to the scandal.
Famous Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akle was shot and killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
Fist bumps instead of handshakes: Biden tries to

Abu Akle was a household name in the Arab world as he wrote for decades about the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Video footage obtained by CNN, corroborated by the testimony of eight witnesses, a medical examiner and an explosives expert, indicates that Abu Akle, who was wearing a hard hat and a blue safety vest marked “Press” at the time of the murder, was shot to death. during a targeted attack by Israeli forces.

On Friday in the West Bank, Biden said the US was pushing for a “full and transparent account” of the journalist’s murder.

Biden called Abu Akle’s death a “huge loss” as he stood next to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

“I hope her legacy… will inspire more young people to continue her work of telling the truth and telling stories that are all too often overlooked. The United States will continue to push for a full and transparent account of her death and will continue to stand up for media freedom around the world,” Biden said.

Palestinian officials and members of Abu Akle’s family have criticized the US investigation and called on the US to do more to hold Israel accountable for the killing.

An image of murdered Palestinian-American journalist Shirin Abu Akle on a chair at a press conference for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Joe Biden in Bethlehem, West Bank, July 15, 2022.

Khashoggi climbed to the top of the meeting between Biden and MBS

In a quickly prepared speech following Biden’s bilateral talks with MBS, the president said he raised the issue of Khashoggi’s murder early in the meeting.

“Regarding the killing of Khashoggi, I brought it up at the beginning of the meeting, making it clear that I thought about it at the time and what I think about it now,” Biden told reporters. “I was direct in discussing this. I have made my point crystal clear.”

But, according to many officials, the human rights debate appears to be overshadowed by broader talk about energy security, regional stability, trade and investment. Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the war in Yemen are also considered key elements of the discussions.

“Those responsible (for the killing of Khashoggi) have been investigated, brought to justice and are paying for their crime,” Jubeir told CNN. “The conversation has moved into the category of official discussions.”

Senior administration officials on Saturday defended Biden’s decision to meet with MBS face-to-face despite fierce protests and criticism, saying it would be a “retreat if the President hadn’t come to the region and would have been a retreat if he didn’t.” “. didn’t want to and didn’t want to sit and discuss human rights issues with foreign leaders around the world.”

“It’s hard to say that values ​​are going to be a key part of your foreign policy and human rights are a big deal for us as a nation and of course as an administration, and then not go abroad and talk to (leaders) frankly, frankly. ways to solve this problem,” said a senior administration official.

Biden came to Jeddah looking for a solution to one of his main political problems at home — sky-high gas prices — as diplomacy with Saudi Arabia in the Middle East was seen as one of the few ways he could lower prices that are creating tension. for millions of Americans.

But White House officials say the president will not return to Washington on Saturday with a clear increase in oil production. An increase in production is expected in the coming months in the context of increased production in the OPEC+ cartel, as discussed at its August meeting.