Saudi crown prince reportedly reminds US president of Washington’s poor record of miscellaneous ‘mistakes’
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denounced Washington’s long track “errors” made in Iraq and Afghanistan as President Joe Biden confronted him about the horrific murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The remarks made by the prince during the high-level meeting were revealed in a statement by a senior Saudi official to Reuters on Saturday.
While Saudi Arabia has admitted its “errors” made in the Khashoggi case, it has “has taken all measures to prevent similar errors from occurring in the future”, the crown prince, commonly referred to by the acronym MBS, was quoted as having told Biden.
MBS also apparently tried to downplay the murder of the journalist, who was killed and then dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018, pointing to the US’ questionable record of human rights abuses. He also referred to the recent assassination of American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank.
“The same year, similar regrettable incidents took place and other journalists were killed in other parts of the world”, said the crown prince. “The United States also made a number of mistakes like the Abu Ghraib prison incident in Iraq and others.”
All countries in the world, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, share values they agree on and have others they disagree on, the crown prince suggested. However, imposing these values on others is not exactly a good idea, he continued, pointing to Washington’s failures in the Middle East.
“However, trying to impose these values by force could have the opposite effect, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States has failed,” he added. he said.
The 2018 murder in Turkey, which the CIA says was ordered by Mohammed bin Salman himself, left a major breach in US-Saudi relations. Holding the kingdom as a whole and MBS personally responsible for the incident was one of Biden’s main talking points during his presidential campaign, when he promised to make the country a “pariah” on the international scene.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with MBS, Biden insisted he had no regrets about targeting the crown prince and raised the issue “at the top of the meeting” to take a position “crystal clear.”
“I said very simply: For an American president to be silent on a human rights issue, is that consistent with – inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I will always defend our values,” Biden said.