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Saudi dissidents call Biden’s planned visit to kingdom a betrayal
Sarah Dadouch – Yesterday 2:34 PM
© Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
BEIRUT — Saudi dissidents expressed anger Friday at reports that President Biden was planning his first presidential visit to Saudi Arabia — without any sign that the United States had demanded improvements in human rights in the kingdom, or accountability for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in return for the visit.
Most galling, they said, was the notion that Biden — who vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state during his campaign and has touted his presidency’s focus on human rights — would probably meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on dissidents and the man the CIA said was likely to have ordered the killing of Khashoggi, in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul nearly four years ago.
“We as Saudi activists harmed by MBS feel betrayed by Biden,” Abdullah Alaoudh, a U.S.-based researcher whose father has been imprisoned since 2017, wrote on Twitter. “Shaking hands with the same person who killed our friend #khashoggi, arrested our loved ones and tortured them, banned many of our family members from travel in order to blackmail us, and harass us here in the US?!”
The crown prince is often referred to by the initials MBS.Turkey concludes Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed by ‘murder’ team, sources say
Three administration officials told The Washington Post that Biden is planning to visit Saudi Arabia this month. Biden, speaking to reporters Friday, said he had no “direct plans at the moment” to visit the kingdom but said there was a “possibility.”
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