US president should ostracize Saudi ruler over death of journalist, says House intel chief who backed Yemen war
US President Joe Biden should axe his planned meeting with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman this summer, House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
The Saudi leader “should be shunned” for his alleged role in the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the California Democrat said. “I wouldn’t shake his hand.”
“This is someone who butchered an American resident, cut them up into pieces in the most terrible, premeditated way,” Schiff continued. “Until Saudi Arabia makes a radical change in terms of human rights, I wouldn’t want anything to do with him.”
The congressman dismissed the notion that Biden should visit Saudi Arabia in an effort to convince the market-leading OPEC nation to help lower oil prices, instead suggesting it posed a “compelling argument” for why the US should quit fossil fuels altogether “so we don’t have despots and murderers calling the shots.” Biden had insisted during his presidential campaign that he would turn Saudi Arabia into a “pariah” state, a promise that seems poised to collapse like many of his other campaign pledges.
Gas prices reached yet another record high national average of $4.85 per gallon on Sunday, according to the American Automobile Association, and have been climbing steadily for months along with near-record inflation.
Schiff was initially an enthusiastic backer of the Saudi-led coalition’s brutal war in Yemen, praising the Obama administration as having “made the right decision” when it backed Riyadh in going to war against the impoverished nation in 2015.
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Seven years later, with hundreds of thousands dead, including tens of thousands of civilians; millions on the brink of starvation; and the situation having deteriorated to the point that the UN dubbed it the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” Schiff has co-sponsored a bill to end “unauthorized” US involvement in the war. It’s not clear what “unauthorized” entails, however, as a press release from Schiff’s office claims US participation in the war has been “unauthorized” from the start.
Saudi Arabia has denied bin Salman had anything to do with Khashoggi’s death, specifically condemning the 2021 US intelligence report that claimed the crown prince had “approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill” the writer. Riyadh has also denied involvement in any war crimes in Yemen.