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Khashoggi colleague: ‘Why are we making an alliance with a dictator?’

Fred Hiatt, the editor of The Washington Post’s editorial page and a colleague of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Sunday said the Biden administration had not done enough to penalize Saudi Arabia after a report released last week linked Khashoggi’s death to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked Hiatt what more he felt the Biden administration could do in response to the unclassified report from the director of national intelligence.

“I think the question is what can you do so that the next time [Mohammed bin Salman] or another would-be butcher like that is thinking about doing a heinous crime like this will stop and think it’s not worth doing. And so far, the calculation for him is, you know, he’s paid a price and the release of the report last week was a good step forward. But it’s not a sufficient price,” Hiatt said.

Stephanopoulos noted that the Biden administration is attempting to find a balance between punishing Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder while also maintaining the relationship between the two countries, a sentiment Hiatt and his editorial board have acknowledged as important. 

“First, I think this was a missed opportunity to rethink the alliance, and how important is Saudi Arabia now to the United States and why. Why are we making an alliance with a dictator who is making trouble in the region?” Hiatt asked.

“But even more, there’s a bigger issue here going on all around the world, which is dictators, like [Mohammed bin Salman], and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping are not only repressing their own people, but they’re reaching beyond their borders to harass, intimidate, kidnap and assassinate,” Hiatt continued. “And it’s a way of striking fear at home and abroad. And if the United States and its fellow democracies don’t stand up against that, then we’re going to live in a world where nobody feels safe anywhere, not even inside the borders of the United States.”

The Biden administration announced punitive measures against multiple Saudi officials on Saturday after the release of the Khashoggi report, though it stopped short of issuing punitive action against the crown prince.

Khashoggi , a U.S. resident, was killed in October of 2018 while inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He was reportedly suffocated and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad with ties to the prince.

“Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization,” the intelligence report read.

Tags Assassination of Jamal Khashoggi George Stephanopoulos Jamal Khashoggi Joe Biden Mohammad bin Salman Reactions to the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi Saudi Arabia The Washington Post

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