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What The Future Holds For The U.S. Relationship With Saudi Arabia

A protester dressed as Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, demonstrates with members of the group Code Pink outside the White House in the wake of the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi October 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A protester dressed as Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, demonstrates with members of the group Code Pink outside the White House in the wake of the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi October 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden once said Saudi Arabia would pay for the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But now as president, Biden is taking a softer approach. Is it time to reassess the U.S.-Saudi relationship? If so, is the Biden administration willing to do it?

Guests

Robin Wright, columnist for The New Yorker. Contributor at the Wilson Center. (@wrightr)

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.

Dr. Khalid Aljabri, cardiologist. He is the son of Saad Aljabri, a former senior Saudi intelligence official who is in hiding. (@JabriMD)

From The Reading List

The New Yorker: “The Sweeping Impact of a Broken Biden Campaign Promise” — “As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden called Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ state with a government of ‘no redeeming social value.’”

Washington Post: “Inside the Biden team’s deliberations over punishing the Saudi crown prince” — “Even before President Biden took office, his top advisers began examining how to make good on his campaign promise to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi without destroying America’s long-standing relationship with the oil-rich monarchy.”

The Hill: “Omar introduces bill to sanction Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi killing” — “Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his role in the slaying of U.S.-based journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.”

New York Times: “In Confronting Saudi Arabia, Biden Tiptoes With a Close Ally” — “President Biden and his administration speak less of calculated interests in dealing with the rest of the world and more of letting values like democracy and human rights guide the way.”

Los Angeles Times: “Biden response to report on Khashoggi killing angers both Saudi Arabia and its critics” — “Throughout his campaign, President Biden vowed to take a harder line with Saudi Arabia. Its leaders, he insisted, would need to act responsibly or ‘pay the price’ for reckless moves and be made ‘the pariah that they are.'”

Pressing Substack: “No Justice for Jamal” — “What is there to say about the disappointment of the week? What is there to say about Joe Biden, president of ‘c’mon man,’ who campaigned on an anti-malarkey platform, would completely balk on holding the Saudi crown prince accountable for ordering the gruesome dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist residing in exile in Northern Virginia in the last year of his life?”

Slate: “Why Biden Couldn’t Punish the Prince” — “It would be satisfying to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his role in the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It would be satisfying, for that matter, to cut off all ties with Saudi Arabia, a tyrannical kingdom that’s inimical to our values and that we don’t even need for its oil supply anymore.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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