On Sunday, February 28, 2021, Saudi commentators said that the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a red line, an escalation of the comments in defense of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a US intelligence report pointed the finger at him in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. </p><div> <p>Prince Mohammed, who actually runs the affairs of the kingdom, an ally of the United States, had denied any involvement in the crime that took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
On Friday, the US administration imposed sanctions on some of those involved in Khashoggi’s murder, but it excluded the crown prince after Washington published an intelligence report in which the prince had approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi.
Khaled Al-Malik wrote in the Saudi newspaper Al-Jazirah saying, “America has no right to bully it over its strategic ally in the region, and it is not in its interest to employ its internal differences to harm its interests and the interests of its partners, without thinking of the implications of any irresponsible behavior that comes from it.”
With US President Joe Biden’s decision to publish the report, which his predecessor Donald Trump refused to publish, the public focus on Washington’s position on dealing with the kingdom on its human rights record and its massive purchases of American weapons rests again.
Al-Malik explained that Saudi Arabia, which relies on the United States to defend itself, including what happened during the first Gulf War and after the attacks that took place on its oil infrastructure in 2019, may turn to China or Russia to obtain weapons.
He said, “Every piece of arms that we receive from America has paid its value in advance, so Washington has no advantage in that until it hopes for us. The arms market exists and has its doors open in the countries of Europe, China, Russia and others, and all of them wish to provide the Kingdom with the weapons it needs.”
However, he added, referring to Iran, that “the Kingdom prefers America by virtue of the historical and strategic relationship and the common goals that bring the two countries together.”
Biden, who has ordered a review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, said his administration would make an announcement regarding Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi said in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom, Washington’s oldest Arab ally, “is not a banana republic shaken by threats or influenced by statements. It is capable of overturning the balance of power in the region and the world. Or underestimating it in any way. ”
The Saudi government has repeated previous statements in which it described Khashoggi’s killing as a heinous crime committed by a group that violated the regulations. The Saudi judiciary issued prison sentences for eight individuals last year.
In Okaz newspaper, Fahim Al-Hamid wrote, “If the Biden administration wants to reconnect and reframe relations with the Kingdom, then this is its sovereign right. And prejudice to sovereignty. ”
He added, “Our judiciary and our decision are red lines, and we are not waiting for an acquittal from anyone, because we have nothing to hide.”
Since the publication of the American report, a large number of Saudis have flooded Twitter with the hashtag “We are all Mohammed bin Salman.”
The Council of Senior Scholars, the highest religious authority in the kingdom, issued a statement on Sunday rejecting the report and “the wrong and offensive conclusions and perceptions.” She added that “this report was not based on any evidence or facts.”
The head of the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice said in a tweet that defending the kingdom and its leaders is an Islamic duty.