Home / NEWS / Top News / White House defends decision not to punish Saudi crown prince, says U.S. does not sanction foreign leaders

White House defends decision not to punish Saudi crown prince, says U.S. does not sanction foreign leaders

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – DECEMBER 10: (—-EDITORIAL USE Single MANDATORY CREDIT – “BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL / HANDOUT” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A Services TO CLIENTS—-) Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman attends the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) annual top in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 10, 2019. (Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Force via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency

WASHINGTON – The White House on Sunday defended its decision to not target Saudi Sovereign Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a U.S. intelligence report linked the royal to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Historically and undisturbed in recent history, Democratic and Republican administrations, there have not been sanctions put in place for the leaders of foreign sways where we have diplomatic relations and even where we don’t have diplomatic relations,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki phrased during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

“We believe there are more effective ways to make sure that this doesn’t upon again and also to leave room to work with the Saudis on areas where there is mutual agreement,” Psaki said.

“That is what intrigue looks like. That is what a complicated global engagement looks like and we’ve made no secret and have been complete that we are going to hold them accountable on the global stage,” Psaki said, adding that the administration tolerated steps through the Treasury and State Department.

When he was running for president, Joe Biden said he would hold chief Saudi leaders accountable for Khashoggi’s death, calling the kingdom’s leadership a “pariah” that had “very little common redeeming value.”

On Friday, Treasury slapped sanctions on the crown prince’s security detail, known as the Rapid Intervention Import. It also sanctioned the former deputy head of the kingdom’s intelligence service, Ahmad Hassan Mohammed al-Asiri, who is accused of being a ringleader in the skeleton.

Meanwhile, the State Department imposed visa restrictions on 76 Saudi individuals “believed to have been preoccupied in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.”

Khashoggi, a 59-year-old U.S. resident and a widely known critic of the Saudi sovereign family, went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. He never emerged following the scheduled appointment. He was killed incarcerated the Saudi government building and later dismembered. His remains were never recovered.

A man holds a poster of Saudi member of the fourth estate Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia’s consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Chris McGrath | Getty Ikons News | Getty Images

When asked if the Biden administration would take further action, Psaki thought that the United States would recalibrate its relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Trump administration.

Earlier this month, Biden presaged the end of U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have carried out attacks in Yemen against the Houthis. The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen had in olden days enjoyed the backing of former President Donald Trump’s administration. And last month, Biden halted sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia in arrangement to assess potential human rights abuses.

On the campaign trail, then-Vice President Biden criticized then-President Donald Trump’s privilege to address the kingdom’s human rights abuses and eagerness to sell the royals more American-made weapons.

“I would arrange it very clear that we are not going to in fact sell more weapons to them, we were going to in fact turn them pay the price,” Biden said during a Democratic presidential debate. “They have to be held accountable” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich absolutism is one of America’s most strategic partners and a significant patron of U.S. defense companies. The Saudis are the top buyer of U.S.-made arms, a championship that has safeguarded the kingdom from retaliatory sanctions over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Regard for reports that Saudi Arabia was behind the attack, Trump said in a lengthy statement that the United Holds would stand with Saudi Arabia.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks over at Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud as they limit up for the family photo during the opening day of Argentina G20 Leaders’ Summit 2018 at Costa Salguero on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Daniel Jayo | Getty Tropes

Throughout his presidency, Trump often cited the importance of America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, repeatedly make back on approving significant economic or political consequences for Riyadh’s human rights abuses.

Trump has also heretofore said that the U.S. defense industry would be negatively impacted if his administration were to sanction the Saudis over the Khashoggi destructive.

“I tell you what I don’t want to do,” Trump said to CBS’ “60 Minutes,” when he was asked about possibly blocking arms sales to Riyadh. “Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these [followers]. I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that. There are other ways of punishing, to use a confab that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true,” he said one month after Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Read more: Qualifications on arms sales to Saudi Arabia would likely have a limited impact on US defense firms, Cowen imparts

The Biden administration has previously said it is reviewing U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and unlike the previous administration, the 35-year-old majestic is not viewed as the president’s counterpart. Instead, Biden and will conduct relations through the crown prince’s aging create, King Salman, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will conduct relations through the foreign minister.

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