Biden says US would use force as ‘last resort’ to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fired back at President Joe Biden when he was confronted about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during the highly controversial meeting between the two leaders.
A source said that – when confronted about ordering the death of Saudi dissident and The Washington Post Journalist Khashoggi – MSB brought up two incidents that he said reflected badly on the US: the US military abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Mr. Biden told reporters that he had pressed MBS about Khashoggi’s “outrageous” murder during a wide-ranging meeting between US and Saudi top officials.
“I made my view crystal clear … for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and with who I am,” he said.
This came after Mr. Biden came under fire for fist-bumping the man believed to have ordered the death of Khashoggi.
The president’s Middle East trip also continued on Saturday with a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi in Jeddah where they discussed the two nations’ bilateral partnership and their determination to ensure that ISIS can never resurge.
Iran imposes sanctions on 61 Americans including Mike Pompeo
Iran has imposed a fresh round of sanctions on 61 Americans including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and ex-White House national security adviser John Bolton.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that it had imposed sanctions on the group of Americans who had voiced support for the Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK).
The nation has introduced sanctions on more than 70 other Americans so far this year, as hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal continue to stall.
President Joe Biden is seeking to reenter the nuclear deal which was reached under the Obama administration before being dismantled by the Trump administration.
The new raft of sanctions were handed down the same day that President Joe Biden spoke to a group of leaders in the Middle East, saying that Iran will never get nuclear weapons.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 20:40
Saudi crown prince unrealistic emission policies will lead to ‘unprecedented’ inflation
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that “unrealistic” emission policies will lead to “unprecedented” inflation, with more investment is needed in fossil fuel and clean energy technologies.
Speaking at the Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday, MBS spoke about the global demand for oil as gas prices continue to soar.
“Adopting unrealistic policies to reduce emissions by excluding main sources of energy will lead in coming years to unprecedented inflation and an increase in energy prices, and rising unemployment and a worsening of serious social and security problems,” he said.
The “geopolitical situation” and the pandemic means that the transition to sustainable energy sources requires a “realistic and responsible” approach, he added.
His comments come after Mr. Biden told reporters that MBS had agreed to bolster oil production in Saudi Arabia – a move that will ease gas prices for Americans – during their controversial meeting on Friday.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 20:10
MBS says Saudi Arabia can’t produce much more oil
MBS has said that Saudi Arabia cannot increase its oil production significantly, after President Joe Biden met with the crown prince in efforts to tackle sky-high gas prices back in the US.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said at the Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday that his oil-rich nation was almost at its limit of petroleum production and cannot produce more than 13 million barrels a day.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, Saudi Arabia is currently producing around 10.2 million barrels of crude oil a day.
His comments come after Mr. Biden told reporters that MBS had agreed to bolster its oil production – a move that will ease gas prices for Americans – during their controversial meeting on Friday.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 19:40
Biden discusses food security and energy supplies with Egyptian president
President Joe Biden discussed food security and energy supply disruptions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as they met in person for the first time.
The two leaders met in Jeddah on Saturday where they spoke about climate change, reviving a Palestinian peace process and the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The GERD has been at the center of an ongoing standoff between Egypt and Ethiopia for years.
Cairo has said that the construction of the huge dam on the River Nile could restrict water access to Egypt. Egyptian officials said Mr. al-Sisi spoke about his desire for a legally binding agreement over the operation of the dam.
The White House said that Mr. Biden also congratulated Mr. al-Sisi for presiding over Egypt on the 27thTh United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm El Sheikh this November and its role in tackling the climate crisis.
“Both leaders emphasized their countries’ support for the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) and the new GMP Energy Pathway, which Egypt has joined with respect to the oil and gas sector,” the statement read.
The two leaders reaffirmed the US and Egypt’s new partnership on Adaptation in Africa, which the US and Egypt will co-lead, focused on delivering concrete initiatives that will improve people’s lives and help build resilience to a changing climate. The leaders committed to convene the Joint US-Egypt Climate Working Group as soon as possible.”
The meeting marks a further thawing of relations between the two nations after the two leaders previously clashed over human rights issues.
Relations started to improve after Egypt made efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza in May 2021.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 19:13
What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?
On 2 October 2018, Jamal Khashoggi – a The Washington Post journalist and outspoken critic of the Saudi government – was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
US officials said that the murder was carried out by a team of intelligence operatives with ties to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – known as MBS – before his body was dismembered with a bone saw.
The Saudi Arabian government initially denied any involvement in the killing before going on to claim that the operatives killed him accidentally while trying to extradite him to Saudi Arabia.
US intelligence agencies later concluded that MBS had ordered his killing.
MBS has long denied any responsibility – a denial he continued to stick to when he came face to face with President Joe Biden on Friday.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 18:40
US lawyer who defended Khashoggi is detained in UAE
A US lawyer who defended murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been detained in the UAE, sparking further controversy around President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East.
Asim Ghafoor, a US citizen and civil rights attorney from Virginia, was detained at Dubai airport on Thursday while traveling to Istanbul for a family wedding, according to Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).
The human rights group said Mr. Ghafoor is now being held in a detention facility in Abu Dhabi on charges related to an in absentia conviction for money laundering.
Mr. Ghafoor had no prior knowledge of any conviction, DAWN said in a statement on Friday.
The Independent‘s Rachel Sharp has the full story:
US lawyer who defended Jamal Khashoggi is detained in the UAE
A US lawyer who defended murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been detained in the United Arab Emirates, sparking further controversy surrounding President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 18:10
ICYMI: Biden’s controversial fist-bump with MBS
President Joe Biden came under fire on Friday when he was caught on camera greeting the Saudi crown prince with a casual fist bump.
US intelligence found that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – aka MBS – was responsible for ordering the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Watch the awkward meeting between Mr. Biden and MBS below:
Joe Biden fist-bumps Saudi Crown Prince after vowing to make him a ‘pariah’
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 17:40
Biden poses for ‘family photo’ with Saudi crown prince
President Joe Biden posed for a “family photo” with the Saudi crown prince, hours after the two men exchanged harsh words over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The photos show the president shoulder to shoulder with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman along with other leaders from the Middle East on Saturday, on what marked the last day of his four-day trip to the region.
Also in the photos were: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi; Jordan’s King Abdullah II; Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani; Kuwait’s Crown Prince Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah; Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi; United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Asaad bin Tariq al-Said, a special representative for the Sultan of Oman.
The so-called “family photo” comes after Friday’s meeting between Mr. Biden and MSB where the US president said he confronted the Saudi crown prince over his role in the death of Khashoggi.
The meeting itself was a source of controversy, particularly given Mr. Biden’s statements during his 2020 White House race that he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah”.
The president instantly sparked further backlash when he greeted MSB with a friendly fist-bump at the start of the meeting.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 17:10
Biden departs Saudi Arabia closing out controversial trip
President Joe Biden departed Saudi Arabia on Saturday marking the end of his controversial Middle East trip.
The president waved as he boarded Air Force One at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 16:50
Biden meets with Bahrain leader
The White House released a brief statement sharing the details of a meeting between President Joe Biden and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in Jeddah on Saturday.
“The President underscored the United States’ appreciation for the longstanding strategic partnership with Bahrain, including its hosting of the US Navy Forces Central Command/5Th Fleet,” the White House said.
The two leaders affirmed their commitment to strengthening defense, security, economic, commercial, and people-to-people ties. “President Biden commended Bahrain’s expanded ties with Israel through the Abraham Accords and the Negev process. The two leaders discussed mutual efforts to foster regional integration and deepen security cooperation.
The meeting marked one of several meetings Mr. Biden held with Middle East leaders during his four-day trip.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 16:10