Saudi's MBS: 'I Do Not Care' if Biden Dislikes Me

Crown prince talks to 'Atlantic,' again denies role in Khashoggi murder
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2022 11:08 AM CST
Saudi's MBS: Khashoggi Accusation Hurt My 'Feelings'
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December.   (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP)

The Atlantic is out with an interview of Saudi Arabia's Mohammad bin Salman, his first with a non-Saudi outlet in about two years. The 36-year-old crown prince has been keeping a relatively low profile since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that factored heavily in the talk. Some highlights:

  • Wasn't me: MBS again denied ordering Khashoggi's murder, though US intelligence agencies think otherwise. It's "obvious" he didn't do so, said MBS, adding that the accusation "hurt me a lot. It hurt me and it hurt Saudi Arabia, from a feelings perspective." Asked to clarify, he said: "I understand the anger, especially among journalists. I respect their feelings. But we also have feelings here, pain here."

  • Odd defense: MBS suggested Khashoggi wasn't important enough to kill, writes Graeme Wood. "If that's the way we did things, Khashoggi would not even be among the top 1,000 people on the list," said the crown prince "If you're going to go for another operation like that, for another person, it's got to be professional and it's got to be one of the top 1,000." Wood writes that he and editor Jeffrey Goldberg, also part of the interview, listened to this part with "astonishment."
  • US, Biden: MBS said that his nation had long-standing ties with the US and that he hoped to strengthen them. But asked about relations with President Biden, who hasn't spoken with the crown prince, he said: "Simply, I do not care." As Forbes notes, MBS also hinted at stronger ties with China, saying that "other people in the East are going to be super happy" if US-Saudi ties wither.
Read the full, wide-ranging interview. (More Mohammed bin Salman stories.)

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