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The Future Of US-Saudi Relations Following Report Tying Khashoggi Killing Approval To Crown Prince




Friends of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters bearing his picture as they attend an event marking the second-year anniversary of his assassination in front of Saudi Arabia Istanbul Consulate, on October 2, 2020.
Friends of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters bearing his picture as they attend an event marking the second-year anniversary of his assassination in front of Saudi Arabia Istanbul Consulate, on October 2, 2020.
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday that instantly ratcheted up pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew worldwide outrage.

The intelligence findings were long known to many U.S. officials and, even as they remained classified, had been reported with varying degrees of precision. But the public rebuke of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is still a touchstone in U.S-Saudi relations. It leaves no doubt that as the prince continues in his powerful role and likely ascends to the throne, Americans will forever associate him with the brutal killing of a journalist who promoted democracy and human rights.

Yet even as the Biden administration released the findings, it appeared determined to preserve the Saudi relationship by avoiding direct punishment of the prince himself despite demands from some congressional Democrats and Khashoggi allies for significant and targeted sanctions. It’s unclear how the administration plans to move forward.

Today on AirTalk, we bring you up to speed on the report and discuss what it means for the future of U.S. Saudi relations. Do you have questions? Call 866-893-5722 to join the conversation. 

With files from the Associated Press 

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Greg Myre, national security correspondent for NPR with a focus on the intelligence community; he tweets @gregmyre1

Aaron David Miller, senior fellow focusing on U.S. foreign policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign-policy think tank;  former State Department Middle East analyst and negotiator in Republican and Democratic Administrations;  his most recent book is “The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President” (St. Martin's Press 2014); he tweets @aarondmiller2