Washington/Riyadh: White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said that the United States has other options than imposing direct sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the matter of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and these options will be exercised. Therefore, indications are that the Biden administration will be pursuing the Khashoggi killing, and action will be taken against the Saudi Crown Prince in a different way. A reaction has been received from Saudi Arabia over this announcement. Saudi Arabia has delivered a message that the United States should not jeopardise its interests by threatening its allies.
A few days ago, the US intelligence department published a report regarding the Khashoggi killing. The report notes that the killing was carried out under the instructions of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Thereafter, the Biden administration imposed sanctions against nearly 76 people, accusing them of having links to the Khashoggi killing. But the Biden administration avoided direct action against Crown Prince Salman. While speaking about this, Jen Psaki clarified that there are other ways of pressurising Saudi Arabia instead of taking direct action against Crown Prince Salman.
Therefore, there are indications that the Biden administration will be adopting a tough stand against the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Before this, President Biden held direct talks with King Salman avoiding to talk with the Crown Prince. The Biden administration has already decided to stop the weapons supply to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saudi Arabia has issued warnings to the United States over this. Saudi Arabian media have warned that the Biden administration should not jeopardise US interests by threatening its allies.
A Saudi Arabian journalist has said, ‘Saudi Arabia intends to maintain the traditionally friendly relations with the United States. But this does not mean that Saudi Arabia will compromise with its sovereignty. It is true that Saudi Arabia was depending on the United States for its security. But if the United States turned its back, Saudi Arabia can develop defence cooperation with Russia and China.’ Whereas, another journalist has warned that Saudi Arabia is not a weak country to be rattled by the threats of the United States. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is showing to the United States that it is prepared to face the pressures exerted by the United States.
Resentment has been expressed by the former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, over the Biden administration’s stand regarding Saudi Arabia. UAE, a close Saudi Arabian ally, has clarified that it will stand with Saudi Arabia in this matter. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have also given indications of forming a joint military front with Israel. This alignment of the Gulf countries will jointly face the Iranian threat and, at the same time, successfully face the US pressure. This could severely undermine US interests in the Gulf. A US analyst has warned that countries like Russia will take advantage of this and increase their influence in the Gulf.