Biden says US would use force as ‘last resort’ to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons
President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East came to an end with yet more controversy after it emerged that an American lawyer who previously represented Jamal Khashoggi had been detained in the UAE.
US citizen Asim Ghafoor was detained at Dubai airport on Thursday while travelling to Istanbul for a family wedding and is now being held in a detention facility on charges related to an in absentia conviction for money laundering. Mr Ghafoor had no prior knowledge of any conviction, a human rights group said.
On Saturday, Mr Biden met with UAE President Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and invited him to come to the US for a visit before the year is out.
The UAE president was one of multiple Middle Eastern leaders Mr Biden met in Saudi Arabia on Saturday before leaving aboard Air Force One.
New details also emerged about Friday’s controversial meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the man US intelligence found responsible for ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
When Mr Biden confronted MBS about the killing – after a friendly fist-bump – he denied the accusation and fired back about the US’s own controversies.
Ilhan Omar says Biden’s trip sends ‘wrong message’
Representative Ilhan Omar criticised President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia, saying it sends the wrong message about the United States’ position on human rights.
The Minnesota Democrat and member of the Squad, who is a refugee from Somalia, said Mr Biden’s trip goes back on his word that he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah nation” after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We are going to make them pay the price, and make them in fact, the pariah that they are,” he said when he was running for president.
The Independent’s Eric Garcia has the full story:
‘Starting this trend of saying you’re going to do one thing on foreign policy, and not really is harmful’, the Squad member tells The Independent as Joe Biden visits Saudi Arabia.
Rachel Sharp17 July 2022 01:40
Editorial: Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia was doomed from the beginning
“Trying to make peace in the Middle East is a task American presidents usually leave until their second term. That was the pattern set, with varying degrees of success, by presidents Nixon, Clinton and Obama.
“Only Jimmy Carter allowed hope to triumph over experience during his single term in office, with the historic Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel.
“Although only in his first term, and on his first visit to the region, Joe Biden is expressly not there to follow in the footsteps of any of his peacemaking predecessors. He has been around for too long, and seen too many disappointments, to risk the investment needed to make progress. This trip has more to do with Russia and Ukraine than Israel and Palestine.”
Read the rest of The Independent’s editorial here:
Editorial: At least Biden was honest enough to admit the ‘ground is not ripe’ to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks
Rachel Sharp17 July 2022 01:10
Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée slams Biden over fist-bump with MSB
Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée has slammed President Joe Biden over his fist-bump with the Saudi crown prince.
Hatice Cengiz spoke out about how she believed the murdered journalist would respond to seeing the friendly greeting between the two leaders.
“Is this the accountability you promised for my murder? The blood of MBS’s next victims is on your hands,” she said.
Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 to get the documents he needed to marry Ms Cengiz. He never made it out alive.
Rachel Sharp17 July 2022 00:40
Iran will not get nuclear weapons, insists Biden
Iran will never be able to develop and maintain nuclear weapons, President Joe Biden vowed on Saturday in a speech to Middle East leaders in Saudi Arabia.
The Biden administration has been in talks with Iran to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal which was reached under the Obama administration – before being dismantled by Donald Trump.
Talks to reenter the deal have stalled.
Rachel Sharp17 July 2022 00:10
US will invest $1bn in MENA food security
The US will invest $1bn in new near- to long-term food security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa region, President Joe Biden announced on Saturday at the GCC summit.
Mr Biden also announced that the GCC leaders were committing $3bn over the next two years in projects that align with the US Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) first announced at the G7 summit.
The White House said this aims to “help deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure that make a difference in people’s lives around the world, strengthens and diversifies our supply chains, and creates new opportunities for American workers and businesses, and advances our national security”.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 23:40
Jamal Khashoggi’s widow thanks Biden for confronting MSB about his murder
The widow of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi thanked President Joe Biden for confronting MSB about ordering his death.
Hanan Elatr Khashoggi released a statement through Fahmy Hudome International in response to Friday’s meeting between Mr Biden and the Saudi crown prince.
“I would like to thank President Biden for raising my husband, Jamal Khashoggi’s murder with the Crown Prince. He raised it first and foremost and for that I am grateful,” she said.
“I also would like to thank President Biden for fulfilling Jamal’s true legacy, which is to highlight the issue of human rights and political prisoners. This meeting was the beginning of accountability for my husband’s murder.
“Through the American justice system, I along with my legal team intend to hold all parties accountable for the murder of my husband.”
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 23:10
Biden says leaders must accept criticism in thinly-veiled swipe at MBS
President Joe Biden made a thinly-veiled swipe at MBS on Saturday as he said that people should be able to “question and criticise their leaders without fear of reprisal”.
“I’ve gotten plenty of criticism over the years. It’s not fun. But the ability to speak openly and exchange ideas freely is what unlocks innovation,” he said in a speech at the summit of Middle East leaders in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
”Accountable institutions that are free from corruption and act transparently and respect the rule of law are the best way to deliver growth, respond to people’s needs, and I believe ensure justice.”
His comments came just hours after he met with the Saudi crown prince and confronted him about ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was highly critical about MBS and the wider Saudi government.
He was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 22:40
Biden speaks about human rights
President Joe Biden gave a speech on human rights at the summit of Middle East leaders, hours after he had told MBS he believes he is responsible for ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
“No country gets it right all the time, even most of the time, including the United States,” he said on Saturday.
“But our people are our strength. Our countries with the confidence to learn from the mistakes grow stronger.”
The president stopped short of directly mentioning Khashoggi’s murder.
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 22:10
Biden poses for ‘family photo’ with Saudi Crown Prince MBS
President Joe Biden posed for a “family photo” with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just hours after the pair exchanged harsh words over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The president stood shoulder to shoulder with the crown prince, known as MBS, along with other Middle East leaders on Saturday, before he boarded Air Force One and left the region.
In the photos, Mr Biden stood with his hands clasped in front of him with MBS to his right. At one point, the two leaders appeared to exchange words.
They were joined for the photo call by 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 Kadhemi; 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 MBS where the US president said he confronted the Saudi crown prince over his role in Khashoggi’s death.
The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the full story:
Biden administration officials forced to defend the president’s decision to meet with MBS after he vowed to make Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ on the 2020 campaign trail
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 21:40
MBS fires back at Biden with America’s own controveries
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fired back at Joe Biden with America’s own controversies when the US president confronted him over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it has been revealed.
A source familiar with Friday’s controversial meeting between the two leaders told CNN that the crown prince, known as MBS, responded by bringing up the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and incidents where US soldiers abused prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib detention centre.
The source said that MBS told Mr Biden that the two incidents reflected badly on the US.
The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the full story:
The Saudi crown prince brought up the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and incidents where US soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners
Rachel Sharp16 July 2022 21:10