Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: MBS’s Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Joe Barbieri ’23

Opinions Editor

Last Friday, the Biden Administration released a declassified intelligence report on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In the report, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, was implicated as the one who orchestrated the attack to kill Khashoggi. The report states that the killing had “direct involvement of a key advisor and members of the MBS protective detail.” 

Khashoggi, who was an American resident, was a frequent critic of the Crown Prince, denouncing Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen Civil War and even acknowledging that bin Salman’s “impulsivity has been a consistent theme” in the country. 

Put simply, Mohammed bin Salman is a repressive autocrat who will stop at nothing to silence those who dare to stand up to him. Despite such horrendous actions, there seems to be no punishment or sanctions against the Crown Prince. 

Not only is this sad, but this is wrong. Not only do we have an obligation to honor the memory of Jamal Khashoggi, but we also have an obligation to protect and make sure that journalists around the world are not murdered for expressing their beliefs. 

The Trump Administration’s close relationship with MBS was quite concerning. As a matter of fact, in Bob Woodward’s book “Rage”, President Trump is quoted as saying he “saved [bin Salman’s] ass” and that he “was able to get Congress to leave him alone.” 

What is more troubling is the fact that President Trump valued the sale of arms more than the life of an American resident. 

The Biden Administration has also yet to take effective strides in punishing MBS. While he kept his promise to release the full intelligence report, he has yet to place sanctions on the country. This lack of action is disappointing and does not honor the courage that Khashoggi had. 

Sanctions must be put on Saudi Arabia. Pressure must be put on the country by the United States to show not only MBS but the entire world that when it comes to freedom of the press and protecting journalists, the United States does not mess around. If MBS is not held accountable, it will be like giving him the green light to commit more unspeakable killings. 

A slap on the wrist simply will not do with such an authoritative leader. 

It is also troubling how MBS was met with open arms when he visited America back in 2018. The Crown Prince met with many powerful people in the United States, such as former president Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Bloomberg, and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 

MBS should not be paraded around. He should be condemned, vilified, and seen for what he truly is: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

While he can put on a smile and shake your hand in front of the camera, the only thing he cares about is power. 

It is time to do the right thing. MBS must be held accountable and punished for his repressive actions. 

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