Ilhan Omar, an American Representative, introduced a bill on Tuesday to impose sanctions on the Saudi crown prince over his role in Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. The latest step has put Omar at odds with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It comes after the US Director of the National Intelligence released a declassified report prepared by the CIA and other American spy agencies that blamed Mohammad Bin Salman for Khashoggi’s killing in Istanbul in 2018. In a statement, Omar said that “this is our test to humanity” and added that if the US believes in human rights, freedom of speech, and democracy, then there is no reason not to sanctions the de facto Saudi ruler.
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Meanwhile, Omar’s calls for sanctions are at odds with Biden and US State Department, which declined to sanction MBS. While talking to a news conference on Monday, the Department’s spokesperson Ned Price maintained that it wanted to “recalibrate” US-Saudi relations. He further defended Biden’s decision to not sanction the crown prince, arguing that the administration was working towards putting the bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia on the right footing.
Soon after the ODNI report was release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on February 26 that the latest US report suggested that the Saudi officials had ordered the inhumane killing of exiled Saudi journalists, including the crown prince. However, the Democratic speaker echoed Biden’s calls to recalibrate the relations and announced that the lower chamber of Congress would introduce a bill to honor the memory of late-journalist.
On Monday, Riyadh categorically rejected the US report and the Kingdom’s special representative to the UN said that the report failed to provide any evidence to back their claims. Washington announced that it would impose travel restrictions on as many as 18 Saudi officials named in the ODNI report, even though the Biden administration refused to release the names.
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