Want to know what the wolfish despots abroad, eyeing the current administration in Washington, think President Joe Biden can do to stop their predations?
In 2019, during the Democratic presidential debates, Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi — brutally slain at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 upon the orders of de facto Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman, the CIA concluded, according to The Washington Post.
Instead, Biden visited the country on his first Middle East trip and has been courting leadership there, partially because the United States desperately needs the Saudis to open the oil spigot.
Before the trip, the president vouched he wouldn’t be meeting one-on-one with the crown prince, according to CNBC. Not only did he have a sit-down with MBS, but he also gave him the world’s most ill-considered fist-bump upon meeting him.
U.S. President Joe Biden greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a fist bump. He was shown shaking hands with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz https://t.co/N39URZpKms pic.twitter.com/fjkDmVXv0r
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 16, 2022
But don’t worry — Joe Biden swore he brought up Khashoggi’s killing first thing off the bat.
And Prince Mohammed took Biden’s rhetoric so seriously that he’s now using it to taunt the administration over the United States’ reported human rights failings, despite the fact the Saudi leader ordered the dismemberment of a foreign-based journalist critical of his regime and hasn’t treated his own people much better, should they step out of line.
This is the respect Biden has garnered from the world’s despots — and he’s earned it. His weak leadership has enabled MBS, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and every other tyrant from Persia to Pyongyang. Here at The Western Journal, we warned this would happen — and documented the administration’s multifarious capitulations when it did. We’ll keep bringing America the truth about this weak, poxed presidency. You can help by subscribing.
Shortly after the fist-bump heard ’round the world, Biden tried to assure reporters that — despite the “pariah” nation talk being off the table and the one-on-one meeting he swore would never happen already concluded — he still cared deeply about Khashoggi.
“With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now,” he said during a news conference, according to a White House transcript.
MBS, Biden told reporters Friday, “basically said that he — he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated that he probably was. He said he was not personally responsible for it and he took action against those who were responsible.”
In one case, a top Saudi official spoke to state broadcaster Al Arabiya and compared Khashoggi’s murder with other controversial human rights issues with U.S. involvement, warning the president not to “impose your values on us by force.”
Saudi official gives MBS’s response to Biden when he asked about Khashoggi. “You can’t impose your values on us by force. Remember Abu Ghraib? What have you done about Shireen Abu Akleh?”. Yes MBS literally said that to Biden. https://t.co/9DQDrWVM2L
— İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي (@iyad_elbaghdadi) July 16, 2022
“You can’t impose your values on us by force. Remember Abu Ghraib? What have you done about Shireen Abu Akleh?” he said.
Abu Ghraib refers to the Iraqi prison where U.S. troops were convicted of torture and other human rights violations during the Iraq war; those abuses ended 18 years ago at the latest, and the implication of direct involvement by the American president and his closest advisers never came close to being proved.
Shireen Abu Akleh, meanwhile, is a Palestinian-American journalist for Qatari-based network Al Jazeera who was shot and killed while covering an Israeli Defense Forces raid in the West Bank earlier this year, according to CBS News. Israeli and Palestinian forces have each accused the other side of killing her.
An Axios report July 7 said an investigation had found Akleh was likely killed by accidental Israeli fire, but ballistics tests are inconclusive. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly demanded accountability from Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, however.
Think these are bad? Imagine luring a dissident journalist to a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, then killing and dismembering him on the instructions of the Saudi head of state. That sounds a lot worse. But not to MBS’ toady — and apparently not to MBS, either.
According to a Twitter thread Saturday from MSNBC journalist Ayman Mohyeldin, the crown prince told Biden that “the same way George Bush did not order the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, MBS did not order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Crown Prince asked why with so many US journalists killed, missing or detained, including Shiren Abu Akleh, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was being politicized.”
SCOOP: A Saudi official present at the Biden-MBS meeting tells me the tone was cordial, open and not aggressive. The leaders left the meeting understanding each other. Biden said as POTUS he stands for human rights and that he needed to raise issues of Khashoggi, dissidents 1/3
— Ayman (@AymanM) July 16, 2022
order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Crown Prince asked why with so many US journalists killed, missing or detained, including Shiren Abu Akleh, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was being politicized.
The meeting concluded with a sense of camaraderie at the leadership level 3/3
— Ayman (@AymanM) July 16, 2022
A mountain of evidence from intelligence agencies and journalists has found, rather conclusively and consistently, that MBS was the architect of Khashoggi’s death. Period.
There is no other reasonable explanation for the murder, not in a kingdom where all power flows through the crown prince. It’s farcical to conceive that any group of rogue agents would be so motivated or so reckless to carry out the operation without his imprimatur. If they did, they’d find themselves in the same dismembered state the Washington Post columnist was.
The fact the crown prince reportedly felt enabled to tell these baldfaced lies to the leader of the free world — and then to allow that conversation to be leaked without responding — is prima facie evidence he doesn’t respect Biden enough to even put energy into his prevarication. Not only that, but MBS has his toadies taunting the president far more openly.
But wasn’t Uncle Joe supposed to be the tough guy? Let’s not forget what Biden said during that Democratic primary debate in 2019, when he was trying to draw a line between himself and then-President Donald Trump, who felt realpolitik necessitated that he engage with the Saudis.
“Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince. And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia,” Biden said, according to a Washington Post transcript.
“And I would also, as pointed out, I would end — end subsidies that we have, end the sale of material to the Saudis where they’re going in and murdering children, and they’re murdering innocent people. And so they have to be held accountable.”
Tough talk from a man incapable of tough action.
The fist bump illustrated that perfectly.
The unworried contemptuousness of the Saudis simply underlines the point for those who still refuse to get it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.