The symbol is strong and falls a month before Joe Biden’s controversial visit to Riyadh. The street in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington was renamed Wednesday after Jamal Khashoggi, the slain Saudi journalist whose memory has been honored.
The city hall of the capital of the United States has unveiled the sign “Jamal Khashoggi Way”, in tribute to the dissident killed in the consulate of his country in Istanbul in 2018. The new street will serve as a “constant reminder” and a “memorial so that the memory of Jamal Khashoggi can never be suppressed,” said City Council President Phil Mendelson, who voted unanimously in favor of the new name.
US intelligence suspects “MBS”
Coincidentally, the ceremony took place the day after the announcement of the American president’s trip to Saudi Arabia in mid-July, during which he is to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, yet accused by American intelligence of having ” validated” the assassination of the columnist of the washington post.
Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, said at the ceremony that the future presidential visit meant “that Biden has abandoned his commitment to defend human rights around the world”. Sarah Leah Whitson, of the human rights organization Democracy for the Arab World Now, founded by Jamal Khashoggi, for her part denounced a “shameless capitulation” on the part of the Democratic leader.
“We want to remind the people who hide behind these doors that every day, every hour, every minute, this will henceforth be Jamal Khashoggi Street,” she said, pointing to the embassy in front of her. “We will hold them responsible for the assassination of our friend (…) who dared to challenge the tyranny of Mohammed bin Salman”.
Joe Biden’s turnaround
Joe Biden had estimated before his election to the White House that Saudi Arabia should be treated as a “pariah” state, and promised, when he came to power, a “recalibration” of relations with this strategic partner of America. , pampered as rarely by his predecessor Donald Trump. He had then made it known that he refused to exchange directly with the prince “MBS”, until the reversal announced on Tuesday.
This is not the first symbolic coup for the city of Washington. The Russian embassy is thus located on the “Boris Nemtsov Plaza”, named after the reformist politician killed near the Kremlin in 2015. The desire to rename the street of the Chinese embassy in homage to Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2010, who died in detention, however, came up against intense opposition from Beijing.