Least Surprising CIA Intelligence Dump Ever

In which it is revealed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Seriously, this had to be the worst kept secret in the Middle East: 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia approved the assassination of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, according to an intelligence report that the Biden administration released on Friday that offered the world a reminder of the brutal killing.

An elite team of operatives helped carry out the killing, the report said. The team reported directly to Prince Mohammed, who cultivated a climate of fear that made it unlikely for aides to act without his consent, according to the report. It omitted the brutal details of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, including the dismemberment of his body with a bone saw after Saudi officials lured him to their consulate in Istanbul.

But the Biden administration took no direct action against Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, instead announcing travel and financial sanctions on other Saudis involved in the killing and on members of the elite unit of the Royal Guard who protect the crown prince. The administration concluded it could not risk a full rupture of its relationship with the kingdom, relied on by the United States to help contain Iran, to counter terrorist groups and to broker peaceful relations with Israel. Cutting off Saudi Arabia could also push its leaders toward China.

It does not matter how much oil that they have, the House of Saud is a complete sh%$ show, and their moving closer to China, and further from the US would be a bane to the Chinese, and a boon to the USA.

Much of the evidence the C.I.A. used to conclude that Prince Mohammed was culpable in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing remains classified. But the report’s disclosure was the first time that the American intelligence community had made its conclusions public, and the declassified document was a powerful rebuke of the crown prince, a close ally of the Trump administration, whose continued support of him prompted international outrage.

The release of the report signaled that President Biden, unlike his predecessor, would not set aside the killing of Mr. Khashoggi and that his administration intended to try to isolate the crown prince.

“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” said the report, issued by Mr. Biden’s director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines.

The decision to rebuke the Saudis without punishing Prince Mohammed directly was the result of a weekslong debate among aides to Mr. Biden, who during the 2020 campaign called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state with “no redeeming social value.”

Biden’s characterization is not really accurate, in that Saudi Arabia is not a nation-state in the modern sense, people are not citizens but instead subjects.  It is the absolute possession of the House of Saud.

It may not appear so outwardly, but the position of the House of Saud atop the power structure of Riyadh is more precarious than it appears, and it is further jeopardized by Mohammed bin Salman’s headstrong incompetence.

The US disentangling itself to the maximum degree possible before it all comes crashing down is a good thing.

Let them be Beijing’s problem.

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