US President Joe Biden, who had previously promised to punish those responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, refused to slap sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, even after the recently released declassified report from US intelligence agencies explicitly calls him responsible for the murder.
Officials of the Biden administration suggested that the Crown Prince was ruled out as a potential receiver of the sanctions as the move might have hampered any future military interests of the US. According to an official of the US State Department, no request was ever received to the foreign affairs arm of the US to prepare for sanctions that targetted the Crown Prince, reported CNN.
In the November 2019 Democratic Debate, Biden vowed to hold the Saudi Arabian leaders accountable for their actions, unlike former US President Donald Trump.
When questioned about his willingness to act against the Saudi government, he said, "I said it at the time. Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince. And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them the pariah that they are."
He went on to stress on his belief that the Saudi Arabian government needs to be held accountable as it did not possess enough "social redeeming value".
While Trump was known to downplay and underestimate the US intelligence, he refused to take any concrete action against the alleged murderers of Khashoggi, a journalist from the US who was tricked into going to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where he was murdered.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, declared on Friday that the country will be imposing visa restrictions on a total of 76 Saudi nationals who have been known to harass journalists and activists but left out the Saudi Crown Prince from his address., reported CNN.
The hesitation of acting against those who allegedly have connections with the murder of a US citizen has been criticised by American politicians, even those who have similar political affiliations with the US President, showing that party lines are not as important as the respect for human rights.
Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who also leads the House Intelligence Committee, urged the US President to punish Mohammed bin Salman.
He said, "I would like to see the administration go beyond what it has announced in terms of repercussions to make sure there are repercussions directly to the crown prince. To me, it's discordant to go after those who followed the orders but not who gave the orders", reported CNN.