Biden says the US will use force as a “last resort” to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons
President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East ended with more controversy after it emerged that a US lawyer who had previously represented Jamal Khashoggi was being held in the United Arab Emirates.
US citizen Asim Ghafoor was detained at Dubai Airport on Thursday while traveling to Istanbul to attend a family wedding, and is now being held in a detention facility on charges related to a conviction in absentia for money laundering. A rights group said Mr. Ghafoor had no prior knowledge of any convictions.
On Saturday, Biden met UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and invited him to come to the United States for a visit before the end of the year.
The president of the United Arab Emirates was one of several Middle East leaders Biden met in Saudi Arabia on Saturday before departing on Air Force One.
New details also emerged about Friday’s controversial meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the man whom US intelligence found responsible for ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
When Biden confronted Mohammed bin Salman about the murder – after his fist collided – he denied the accusation and responded to the American controversies.
Biden says leaders should accept criticism with a disguised blow to MBS
President Joe Biden leveled a mild criticism of Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday, saying that people should be able to “question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisal.”
I’ve received a lot of criticism over the years. It’s not fun. Speaking at the Middle East Leaders Summit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, he said the ability to speak openly and share ideas freely is what unleashes innovation.
“Institutions that are accountable, free of corruption, that operate transparently and that respect the rule of law are the best way to achieve growth and respond to people’s needs, and I believe ensuring justice.”
His comments came just hours after he met the Saudi crown prince and confronted him about the order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi has been highly critical of Mohammed bin Salman and the broader Saudi government.
He was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 22:40
Biden talks about human rights
President Joe Biden gave a speech on human rights at the Middle East Leaders Summit, hours after he told Mohammed bin Salman that he believed he was responsible for ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
“No country does 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 confidence in learning from mistakes are getting stronger.”
The president has refrained from directly mentioning Khashoggi’s murder.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 22:10
Biden poses for a “family photo” with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
President Joe Biden took a “family photo” with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just hours after they exchanged harsh words over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The president stood alongside the crown prince, known as MBS, alongside other leaders in the Middle East on Saturday, before boarding Air Force One and leaving the region.
In the photos, Mr. Biden stood with his hands clasped in front of him and Mohammed bin Salman to his right. At one point, the two leaders seemed to exchange words.
They were joined on the phone call by the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. King Abdullah II of Jordan; Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Kuwaiti Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Asaad bin Tariq Al Said, a special representative of the Sultan of Oman.
The so-called “family photo” comes after Friday’s meeting between Biden and Mohammed bin Salman, in which the US president said he confronted the Saudi crown prince over his role in Khashoggi’s murder.
independentRachel Sharp has the full story:
Biden administration officials had to defend the president’s decision to meet with Mohammed bin Salman after he pledged to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” in the 2020 campaign.
Rachel SharpJuly 16, 2022 21:40
Mohammed bin Salman responds to Biden with American criticism
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s response to Joe Biden was revealed by America’s controversy when the US President confronted him over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
A source familiar with the controversial meeting between the two leaders on Friday said CNN That the crown prince, known as MBS, responded by stirring up the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the incidents in which US soldiers abused prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The source said that Mohammed bin Salman told Biden that the two incidents reflected badly on the United States.
independentRachel Sharp has the full story:
The Saudi crown prince raised the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the incidents of American soldiers’ attacks on Iraqi prisoners.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 21:10
Iran imposes sanctions on 61 Americans, including Mike Pompeo
Iran imposed a new round of sanctions on 61 Americans, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House national security adviser John Bolton.
On Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that it had imposed sanctions on a group of Americans who expressed their support for the splinter group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
And the nation has imposed sanctions on more than 70 more Americans this year so far, as hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal continue to falter.
President Joe Biden is seeking to re-enter the nuclear agreement that was reached under the Obama administration before the Trump administration dismantled it.
The new set of sanctions was released on the same day that President Joe Biden spoke to a group of leaders in the Middle East, saying that Iran never had nuclear weapons.
Rachel SharpJuly 16, 2022 20:40
The Saudi crown prince’s unrealistic emissions policies will lead to “unprecedented” inflation
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said “unrealistic” emissions policies will lead to “unprecedented” inflation, with more investment needed in fossil fuels and clean energy technologies.
Mohammed bin Salman spoke at the Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday about global oil demand as gas prices continue to rise.
He pointed out that “adopting unrealistic policies to reduce emissions by excluding the main sources of energy will lead in the coming years to unprecedented inflation, increase in energy prices, increase unemployment and exacerbate serious social and security problems.”
He added that the “geopolitical situation” and the pandemic meant that the transition to sustainable energy sources required a “realistic and responsible” approach.
His comments come after Biden told reporters that Mohammed bin Salman had agreed to boost oil production in Saudi Arabia – a move that would lower gas prices for Americans – during their controversial meeting on Friday.
Rachel SharpJuly 16, 2022 20:10
Mohammed bin Salman says Saudi Arabia can’t produce more oil
Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia cannot significantly increase its oil production, after President Joe Biden met with the crown prince in efforts to tackle extremely high gas prices in the United States.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in the Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday that his oil-rich country was almost at the limit of its oil production and could not produce more than 13 million barrels per day.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, Saudi Arabia currently produces about 10.2 million barrels of crude oil per day.
His comments come after Biden told reporters that Mohammed bin Salman had agreed to boost his oil production – a move that would lower gas prices for Americans – during their controversial meeting on Friday.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 19:40
Biden discusses food security and energy supply with Egyptian President
President Joe Biden discussed food security and energy disruptions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as they met face to face for the first time.
The two leaders met in Jeddah on Saturday where they talked about climate change, the revival of the Palestinian peace process and the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Renaissance Dam has been at the center of the ongoing confrontation between Egypt and Ethiopia for years.
Cairo said the construction of the massive dam on the Nile River could limit water access to Egypt. Egyptian officials said Sisi spoke of his desire to reach a legally binding agreement on the dam’s operation.
The White House said Biden congratulated El-Sisi on Egypt’s 27th presidencyThe tenth The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh last November and its role in tackling the climate crisis.
“The two leaders affirmed their countries’ support for the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) and the new GMP Energy Path, to which Egypt has joined in the oil and gas sector,” the statement read.
The two leaders reaffirmed the new US-Egypt Partnership on Adaptation in Africa, which the US and Egypt will co-lead, and which focuses on delivering concrete initiatives that improve people’s lives and help build resilience in the face of climate change. The leaders committed to convening the meeting of the US-Egypt Joint Climate Working Group as soon as possible.”
The meeting marks a further thaw in relations between the two countries after the two leaders clashed in the past over human rights issues.
Relations began to improve after Egypt made efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza in May 2021.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 19:13
What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?
On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi – A Washington Post Journalist and outspoken critic of the Saudi government – was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
US officials said the murder was carried out by a team of intelligence agents linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – known as MBS – before dismembering his body with a bone saw.
The Saudi government initially denied any involvement in the killing before claiming that officers killed him by mistake while trying to extradite him to Saudi Arabia.
US intelligence agencies later concluded that Mohammed bin Salman had ordered his killing.
Mohammed bin Salman has always denied any responsibility — a denial he continued to hold when he met face-to-face with President Joe Biden on Friday.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 18:40
The American lawyer who defended Khashoggi is being held in the UAE
An American lawyer who defended murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been detained in the UAE, sparking further controversy over President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East.
Asim Ghafoor, a US citizen and civil rights attorney from Virginia, was arrested at Dubai airport on Thursday as he was traveling to Istanbul for a family wedding, according to the organization Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN).
The human rights organization said Mr. Ghafoor is now being held in a detention center in Abu Dhabi on charges related to a money laundering conviction in absentia.
Dawn said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Ghafoor had no prior knowledge of any convictions.
independentRachel Sharp has the full story:
An American lawyer who defended murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been detained in the United Arab Emirates, sparking further controversy over President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East.
Rachel SharpJuly 16 2022 18:10
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”