[The release of the report on the Khashoggi murder] is a useful way to put the question of accountability for Khashoggi’s murder in the public domain early in the new administration... If the document fingers MBS as responsible for the murder it will raise the question what is Biden going to do to hold him accountable?
[Secretary Pompeo's] statement that the Islamic Republic of Iran is now the home of Al Qaeda is a vast exaggeration. It is true there is a complex relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda. It's not a black and white case. There is a germ of truth to the notion that there is some relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda. But it misses the much bigger picture, that they are quite hostile entities.
I think it is highly unlikely [that the Biden Administration will release a declassified report on Khashoggi's murder]. To protect sources and methods it would need to be highly redacted. Such a document would not be very satisfying. To do otherwise would be to reduce significantly our ability to monitor activities... The Saudis have only belatedly begun to realise that the good old days are coming to an end. I think they are trying to figure out what to do and are particularly concerned about Biden reviving the Iran nuclear deal, which they are completely opposed to... MBS holds almost all of his meetings in the fantasy city of Neom. Well, there is a reason for that. It is the safest place for him to be in the kingdom and I think it is reflection of his very acute concerns. He has alienated an awful lot of Saudis.
This is Qatar’s Arab enemies — led by the U.A.E., including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, with the support of Egypt — trying to smear Qatar as a terrorist patron. They want to make it as difficult as possible for the Qataris in advance of a Biden administration.
No individual is crucial in a nuclear program like this anymore. The Iranians mastered that technology twenty years ago. This guy was important, no question, but he was not crucial to it. Nobody is crucial to it anymore. That’s why describing this as a devastating blow is nonsense... I think the three amigos—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia—share an overwhelming determination to prevent Joe Biden from reviving U.S.-Iran diplomacy and the nuclear deal... When you think back to 2016, when John Kerry called up his Iranian counterpart every week and spoke to him on the phone—it was extraordinary. The Saudis and Israelis are desperate to prevent that from happening again. How do they set up a situation where Biden is boxed in and can’t do anything about it?
The most dramatic change in policy [for the incoming administration will be towards Saudi Arabia]... [By choosing Jake Sullivan as national security advisor, Biden is] showing he intends to do what he says, which is to try to revive the nuclear deal and reopen communications with the government of Iran... The Trump administration gave the Netanyahu government one gift after another, from moving the embassy to Jerusalem to closing off relations with the Palestinian Authority. I don’t think you will see the Biden administration handing out so many freebies.
[The Saudis are realizing that] they’re going to be facing a much more hostile Washington than has been the case for the last four years, and maybe a more hostile Washington than they’ve ever faced before... The stakes here are really quite high for Saudi Arabia. These lawsuits will only remind people . . . of a pattern of Saudi efforts to intimidate, if not kill, critics of the regime.