Wednesday, 16 Jan 2019

A bipartisan Senate group wants to officially accuse the Saudi Crown Prince of the murder of a journalist

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires. (G20 / AP Summit Press Office)

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday issued a resolution condemning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, urging President Trump to do the same.

"This resolution – unequivocally – definitely states that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has been complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and has been a disaster for the region endangering our national security interests on several fronts," he said. said Senator Lindsey O. Graham. (RS.C.) said in a statement accompanying the publication of the resolution. "It will be up to Saudi Arabia to decide how to handle this case. But it is up to the United States to firmly defend who we are and what we believe in. "

The resolution tabled by Graham and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Who are expected to head the Judiciary Committee next year, comes just a day after CIA Director Gina Haspel informed key senators Details of the assessment of the agency that Mohammed ordered and monitored the killing and dismemberment of Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Senators came out furiously from this closed-door meeting furious not only against Saudi Arabia, but also against Trump, for rejecting the clutter of the CIA's findings.

"You must be deliberately blind not to conclude that this was orchestrated and organized by persons under the command of MBS and that he was involved in a complex manner in the death of Mr. Khashoggi," Graham said. the end of the briefing, referring to Mohammed. by his initials. He added that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who informed senators last week, were at best "good soldiers" and, at worst, "in the pockets of Saudi Arabia "for presenting evidence of Mohammed's involvement as inconclusive.

The publication of the resolution condemning Mohammed also comes as the Senate prepares to begin debate on a resolution to limit US support for Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen. Although Yemen's resolution does not directly address the killing of Khashoggi, its popularity reflects the tension that reigns between the United States and Saudi Arabia on many fronts, including its role in worsening the civil cost of war in Yemen, quoted by United. Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Last week, the Senate voted 63 to 37 to push the Yemen resolution beyond a procedural hurdle. But the resolution focused on Crown Prince Graham and Feinstein has the potential to gain broader support, particularly from Republicans, deeply divided over fiercely punishing Saudi Arabia for killing Khashoggi.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Who has been a staunch advocate for human rights and who is perceived as one of the GOP's most influential voices in foreign policy, n & # 39; He did not vote for Yemen's resolution last week or sign a bipartisan move last month to punish Saudi officials and stop arms transfers to the kingdom. But he is one of the first co-authors of the resolution condemning Mohammed for the death of Khashoggi.

The same goes for Senator Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), Who represents the other end of the GOP spectrum in terms of votes and approvals related to Saudi Arabia. Young was one of the first co-authors of the bill Graham wrote with Senator Robert Menendez (DN.J.) to punish Saudi officials found responsible for the murder of Khashoggi and put an end to the sale weapons other than exclusively defensive weapons in the kingdom until the end of hostilities in Yemen. Young also voted to advance the Yemen resolution – something Graham also did, although Graham said he would not lend any support similar to the measure, fearing that it could set a precedent in invoking the resolution of the powers of war too broadly.

Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) And Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) Are among the first sponsors of the resolution condemning Muhammad, who also urges Saudi Arabia to negotiate with Houthi rebels to end the conflict . The war in Yemen, negotiate a political solution to its stalemate with Qatar and release political prisoners.

But how much does the resolution weigh on the strength with which the administration has decided to abide by it – and until now, Trump has shown no interest to condemn the Crown Prince as the senators wish.


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