After he campaigned to make Saudi Arabia’s MBS a “pariah”

By Ken Klippenstein,

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 and the first time a president won’t be participating in any memorial events. While many are critical of Biden’s absence, intentionally or not, President Biden is honoring the request of 9/11 victims’ families who have asked that he not attend any memorials unless he declassifies U.S. government documents that could shed light on Saudi Arabia’s role in the attack — which Biden has not done.

mbs modi biden hand shake 2

Candidate Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the grisly murder of journalist Jamaal Khashoggi, refusing to meet with its de facto ruler, Mohammed Bin Salman, or MBS as he’s known. That ended when he shared a fist bump with the young crown prince during a visit last year to the oil-rich Kingdom following soaring gas prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Joe Biden Can’t Quit the Saudi ‘Pariahs,’” as my colleague, Jeremy Scahill, put it in a column for The Intercept.

And on Saturday, Biden shook MBS’s hand for the first time — just two days before 9/11 — a striking metaphor for the president’s betrayal of his campaign promise.

Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks — in addition to being the home country of most of the hijackers — remains a matter of official contention. The 9/11 Commission, despite meeting with Saudi intelligence officer Omar al-Bayoumi as part of their field work, a man who settled and hosted the two San Diego-based hijackers, obscures many of the most damning material implicating the Saudi Kingdom. In Washington, the attitude was not only that the oil superpower had the U.S. over a barrel, literally (which isn’t actually untrue) but also that the sensitivities of implicating even factions within the royal family as supporting the strikes would have been too difficult for the American public to understand. And so 22 years later, Saudi Arabia continues to get special treatment, and the tale remains an open wound in American society.

Read More