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Don’t bully Riyadh, Saudi columnists tell Biden administration

Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty is a crimson line, Saudi columnists mentioned on Sunday, ramping up rhetoric in protection of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a U.S. intelligence report implicated him within the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mohammed, de facto ruler of the U.S.-allied Gulf powerhouse, has denied any involvement within the 2018 homicide of Khashoggi on the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The U.S. administration on Friday imposed sanctions on a few of these concerned, however spared the prince. Washington launched an intelligence report saying the crown prince had permitted an operation to seize or kill Khashoggi.

“America does not have the right to bully a strategic regional ally and it is not in its interest to let domestic differences harm its regional interests and those of its partners,” Khaled al-Malik wrote in native Al Jazirah newspaper.

President Joe Biden’s resolution to publish the report withheld by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who loved robust ties with Prince Mohammed, brings with it a refocusing of Washington’s stance on coping with the dominion, on its human rights document, and on its profitable arms purchases.

Malik mentioned Saudi Arabia, which has relied on the United States for its defence together with in the course of the first Gulf War and after 2019 assaults on its large oil infrastructure, may look to China and Russia for weapons.

“But the kingdom prefers America due to their historic and strategic ties and common goals,” he mentioned, referring to Iran.

Biden, who has ordered a evaluate of Saudi arms gross sales, mentioned his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Abdullah al-Otaibi, writing in London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper which is Saudi-owned, mentioned the dominion, Washington’s oldest Arab ally, was “not a banana republic to be shaken by threats”.

The Saudi authorities has repeated earlier statements that Khashoggi’s killing was a heinous crime by a rogue group, for which a Saudi court docket jailed eight folks final 12 months.

“We want to strengthen deep-rooted ties (with the U.S.) but not at the expense of our sovereignty. Our judiciary and our decisions are a red line,” Fahim al-Hamid wrote in Okaz newspaper.

Since the U.S. report was launched, many Saudis have flooded Twitter with the hashtag “We are all Mohammed bin Salman”.

Saudi Arabia’s highest spiritual authority issued a press release on Sunday rejecting the report as “false and unacceptable”. The head of the dominion’s morality police tweeted that it was an obligation underneath Islam to defend the dominion and its leaders.

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