Every day, we are reminded in a thousands little ways how lucky we are to be living in the United States. This is, after all, the freest nation that has ever been; a place where we can say what we want without fear of reprisal or chastisement. We have free speech, a free press, and all of the power that comes along with it.
Outside of our borders, none of that is fully guaranteed, and, as wild as it seems, there are still some heavily authoritarian nations out there where dissent is still quashed with an iron first.
Such is the case in Saudi Arabia, and US intelligence agencies are now detailing just how bad it is.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, according to a U.S. intelligence report that could have sweeping implications for U.S.-Saudi relations.
The report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, released Friday, cited bin Salman’s control of decision-making in Saudi Arabia as well as the involvement of a key advisor and members of the prince’s protective detail in the operation that killed Khashoggi, a critic of the royal family.
Also Friday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken imposed visa restrictions on 76 Saudi individuals whom he said are “believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.”
Blinken said the restrictions are part of the new “Khashoggi Ban” policy that will bar visas for people who while acting on behalf of a foreign government are believed to have engaged in “serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities.”
The act, as unforgivable as it is, could and should lead to an adjustment in the way that the world deals with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince.
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