In defending the US decision not to take action against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki falsely claimed that the US does not sanction foreign heads of state.
Psaki made the claim in an interview with CNN on Sunday when explaining why MbS was left out of a list of Saudis sanctioned for the Khashoggi killing. The sanctions were implemented after a newly released US intelligence report said the crown prince ordered the murder.
“Historically, and even in recent history, Democratic and Republican administrations, there have not been sanctions put in place for the leaders of foreign governments where we have diplomatic relations — and even where we don’t have diplomatic relations,” she said.
A CNN fact-check on Psaki’s comments found that the previous three US administrations had sanctioned eight world leaders. President Trump slapped sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The administration of Barack Obama sanctioned North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. President George W. Bush imposed sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and former Myanmar leader Than Shwe.
Psaki slightly walked back the false claim at a press briefing on Monday. She said the US “has not typically sanctioned government leaders of countries where we have diplomatic relations.” Including the caveat “not typically” makes the statement not an outright lie, but it is still misleading.
As far as not sanctioning countries the US has “diplomatic relations” with, of the eight leaders listed above, the US only had no diplomatic relations with Iran and North Korea when sanctions were imposed. The US cut diplomatic ties with Libya as it implemented the sanctions on Gadhafi.
Besides the false claim, Psaki’s comments don’t line up with the logic she used in earlier remarks. While MbS is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, his father, King Salman, is still technically the head of state. At a press briefing on February 16th, Psaki recognized that fact.
Psaki said reporters had asked her whether or not Biden would speak with MbS, but she insisted that King Salman was the appropriate contact for the president. “The President’s counterpart is King Salman, and I expect that, in appropriate time, he would have a conversation with him,” she said. President Biden ultimately spoke with King Salman on February 25th.
15 thoughts on “White House Falsely Claims US Does Not Sanction World Leaders In Response to Criticism Over MbS”
When you have an ignorant Bimbo who makes your skin crawl when she speaks you get a performance like that.
The US lies? That is a total shock.
What is it with white house press secretaries? Is it a prerequisite that you must be able to lie through your teeth?
Basic rule: If a government official claims something then the opposite is probably true, starting with “they represent us.”
The US sanctions on individuals come with a lot of publicity from “the leader of the free world” but have no real effect. The sanction subjects probably have no desire to have a US bank account or visit the heart of world criminality and corruption. The sanctions are a major publicity slam against the country however, and may lead to counter-actions which are unfavorable to the US. Let’s hope so. Russia is next on the sanction wagon, BTW, for Navalny.
Incidentally, “sanction” has two meanings. Besides “penalty” it means “permission” so that’s a bit of possible fun.
Some of them had investments in London, and moved money in the banking system the US dominates. They did those things to escape potential claw back in their home countries.
If I was a rich Russian, I’d want my money outside Putin’s reach, and if I was Putin, I’d want money outside the reach of the next guy.
It goes beyond inconvenience in moving money. It becomes the US doing to them now what they fear Putin or the next guy might do to them one day.
In that way, it makes them more dependent on Putin, increases his power, and reinforces what is sanctioned. It is self defeating.
Wasn’t much of these funds ill-gotten from the Yeltsin era?
The “Navalny” sanctions being placed on Russia are quite numerous, including seven Russian officials (but not Russia’s leader).
U.S. Sanctions and Other Measures Imposed on Russia in Response to Russia’s Use of Chemical Weapons
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS ACT SANCTIONS
Today, the Secretary of State determined that the Government of the Russian Federation has used a chemical weapon against its own nationals, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. As a result, the following sanctions will be imposed (full or partial waivers are noted below) after the 15-day Congressional notification period:. . here
Democratic and Republican administrations pursue the same foreign policy. I wonder why!
Ralph Nader referred to them as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. His programs when he ran for president were completely different, so the establishment (especially the Dems) fought Nader, trying to get him off the ballots and not allowing him in presidential candidate debates, even as a spectator. So the two-party system guarantees that the the two parties will have the same criminal programs which feature huge military budgets, bad relations with many countries and forever wars. It pays well. Other countries have a number of political parties and so have to compromise against any ridiculous ideas that are permissible to the US.
This is one of the examples of the death of statecraft and diplomacy in US. No country can survive for long — no matter how powerful — with utter ignorance passing as a conversation on highest level.
We ca have fun with cheap lies like not sanctioning heads of states, while taking for granted the biggest lie, that our intelligence has anything intelligent to say about Kashoggi murder. The perpetrators of crime have been identified by Turkey, video and audio provided, trials held — and those that ordered the execution too obvious. But try to explain it to neocon land — that from day one fumed when their handpicked crown prince MBN was toppled in the palace coup in June 2017.
The bigger question is — why is majority of sensible people perfectly happy to be in agreement with our perennial neocon bubble?
What is it? Why lack of interest in what happened? Why ignore all obvious facts? I guess because it is easier. We cannot blame neocons —, we all willingly swallow their tales. We are willingly led by nose.
And how is the discussion of “de facto” ruler help here? Is Boris Johnson a de facto ruler or is it Queen? What are the prerogatives of crown prince and what are the one of King? What role does Council of Saudi clans play? Zero interest, neocons told us all we need to know, nothing to see there?
Lazy journalism contributes to the ignorance and peddling neocon narratives.
Why does it matter? Because as sweet and as expeditious it may seem to brandish some “intelligence” and cower some foreigners to do as told, it is stupid.
And Saudis like any other nation, creed or race of people are not stupid. Our treating them this way will hardly contribute to regional solutions that we favor. What do we want from Yemen? Isn’t it patently obvious that Saudis and US are are at loggerheads over Yemen, precisely over entrance to Red Sea, Mandeb Straits?
And that Saudis have Egypt and Sudan on their side? And that Sudan signed off on a deal to have Russian naval facility at. Port Sudan? That being right across from Saudi largest port, Jeddah — did Saudis complain?
We are creating more and more messes. Being tone deaf to other countries needs, only interested un appearing big and bad. Do we rally get results from such behavior? Or is it just important to maintain the image.
Clearly, the goal is to have Saudi Council instruct Kung to replace MBS. Given the support MBS was given following Kashoggi murder, not likely.
Thus the transparent bribe —,we will protect KSA provided you oust MBS.
Let us see if this splits the Council. In the middle of regional crisis, that would be a dangerous business.
re: “The bigger question is — why is majority of sensible people perfectly happy to be in agreement with our perennial neocon bubble?”
Where did you get that? The majority of US people polled disapprove of the US Congress which obviously supports corporate international interests and Israel. Meanwhile the Pentagon, called the “defense department,” is safeguarding “US [corporate] interests” around the world supported by a lying mainstream media.
Where do I get this? I observe it right here, among people one would expect to be more observant.
Did MBS order killing of Kashoggi? I can imagine majority will say — yes. We have been bombarded with many half-truths, lies, and unsubstantiated conclusions that this must be the case.
Because we have little interest in the goings on there, it is mighty easy to accept the conclusions we have been diligently served since June 2017.
There are many more proofs that he had nothing to do with the murder — but there is zero interest in that.
Why? It is logical that Saudi support of Wahhabi militants created a negative opinion — but we cannot be tone deaf when something changes. And it did change by 2018.
What has caused such a violent dislike of MBS among neocons and establishment in general? He is doing something we do not like. Yemen? His predecessor, our hand picked MBN, spent two years destroying Yemen — we never complained against him.
He cut ties with Qatar, but we blame MBS. Even though MBS upon getting to power quickly organized a conference in Cairo that changed all the CONDITIONS placed on Qatar — into PRINCIPLES. They all just waited for Trump to leave office – to end the charade,
We do not have any information in media as to why we want MBS gone. Why? And it has nothing to do with poor Kashoggi, Even though such information is available, should one care to research.
We will find out if Biden’s gambit has legs to stand on. The ousted firmer Crown Prince MBN we groomed since his college days, who inherited his father’s powerful position as the Minister of the Interior — was our chief ally in fight on “terrorism”.
When US pressured Saudis to appoint MBN to Crown Prince position, Saudis funded most of the “rebels” and militants across Syria and Iraq. But our neocon media was still not satisfied. Why? We wanted to get rid of meddlesome King Salman, and his spy in MBN cabinet, his son MBS.
A massive campaign was waged to declare King senile or struck with Alzheimers — just to force his retirement and cement MBN as a new King.
Even though MBN is from a powerful clan, after ISIS debacle, Saudi clans decided to remove him. A special dispensation was granted to MBS, as in KSA there is no hereditary monarchy.
This exception was given after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and declared his intention to destroy ISIS.
This was a huge blow to MBN — used to Obama focusing on eliminating “leaders” here and there, but allowed ISIS to hold territory between Syria and Libya.
But ever since Russia entered Syria in 2015, improved intelligence allowed Iraqi army to reverse losses, and Russia bombed caravans of oil trucks, causing ISIS to shrink.
All Trump did was to tell Saudis that America will not let Russia and Iraq win against ISIS — he was going to lead the fight.
Saudis were shocked as they were sure that US intended to allow ISIS to control Sunni regions of Iraq and Syria, and invested in supporting the project.
Attempt to blame Qatar for being the center of terrorism was a brain dead idea, but the last act of disintegrating, and pain killer medication addicted MBN.
So, why hate MBS? Because there is now a father and son team, and Wahhabi establishment lost money for supporting militants. Money went into domestic projects, making MBS very popular. Wahhabis also lost in MBS social reforms.
Will the Council of Saudi clans cave in and remove MBS who is very popular?
They backed him up after Kashoggi affair — as it was crystal clear that MBN loyalists — possibly with foreign assistance orchestrated the theatrical operation.
Saudis are pretty secretive when it comes to inter-clan disagreements. The fact that the Council itself — not the King — authorized MBS to reform security agencies, signaled that they knew exactly what happened.
And it was of immense value that Turkey had the team of assassins in video, and the whole event recorded.
The Kingdom is threatened by war with Iran. Whoever says that Kingdom wants it — is truly ignorant. No matter what they say — it is inconceivable for KSA to want war.
Our understanding of region is muddied by stereotypes and fixed beliefs. What worries me — there is not enough pushback on Iran adventure, as we are conditioned to believe that it is something Saudi Arabia wants, Israel wants, Gulf states want.
None of it true.
Reminds me of Yemen. We successfully forced Saudis to fight a war within Yemen, making it look like this has nothing to do with US interests.
But it will continue as this is the only way for Saudis to prevent US from controlling the Straits, and controlling Red Sea traffic from Europe to Asia. Unless US offers a deal.
Who is the author of the “article “? I’m sure that the US did not have diplomatic relations with those countries at the time that the heads of state were sanctioned.
Not only the President of Venezuela but every elected official blocked,
Food aid blocked in various ways,
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