Biden greets Saudi Crown Prince MBS he once ripped as ‘pariah’ with warm handshake at G20

In World

President Biden bestowed a warm handshake on Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Saturday — flashing a big grin while chatting up the man he once ripped as an international “pariah.”

The friendly three-way clasp with the prince and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came Saturday at the G20 summit in New Delhi — 14 months after Biden’s notorious fist-bump with the de facto Saudi leader, who has been accused of a string of human rights abuses.

In 2021, the US intelligence community found that the crown prince known as MBS ordered a 2018 operation that led to the brutal dismemberment death of a prominent critic, opinion columnist Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

During his presidential campaign, Biden sharply criticized MBS for Khashoggi’s killing, threatening that his White House would make the Saudis “pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”

Joe Biden, Mohammed bin Salman
Biden and the crown prince, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, exchanged a fist bump — not a handshake — when they first met in July 2022.

Joe Biden
Biden spoke at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, where he met MBS in person for the second time of his presidency.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman attends a session on ‘Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment’ as part of the G20 summit.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

But a huge spike in gas prices and accompanying rise in inflation spurred Biden to ease his rhetoric — and his body language — during his July 2022 visit to the Saudi capital of Jeddah, where he vainly asked MBS for an increase in the kingdom’s oil production.

Biden’s conciliation at the time drew scorn from critics.

“The blood of MBS’s next victim is on your hands,” railed Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée.

Five months later, in December 2022, a federal judge tossed Cengiz’s civil lawsuit against MBS after the Biden administration intervened to argue that the prince should be granted sovereign immunity in the case.

Read More: Biden greets Saudi Crown Prince MBS he once ripped as ‘pariah’ with warm handshake at G20

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