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Excerpt: "Six top US senators from across party lines have introduced a scathing resolution to hold the Saudi crown prince accountable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi more than two months ago."

The resolution urges the U.S. government to hold the crown prince accountable for a number of actions. (photo: Sergio Moraes/Reuters)
The resolution urges the U.S. government to hold the crown prince accountable for a number of actions. (photo: Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

US Senators Introduce Resolution Blaming MBS for Khashoggi Murder, Yemen Atrocities

By Al Jazeera

06 December 18

Bipartisan group of senators introduces measure saying Saudi crown prince is 'complicit' in the killing of journalist.

ix top US senators from across party lines have introduced a scathing resolution to hold the Saudi crown prince accountable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi more than two months ago.

The proposal, which was introduced on Wednesday, says the Senate "has a high level of confidence" that Mohammed bin Salmanm"was complicit in the murder".

If approved by the Senate, it would officially condemn Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, for the killing of Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in October.

"This resolution - without equivocation - definitively states that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi and has been a wrecking ball to the region jeopardising our national security interests on multiple fronts," Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator and close ally of President Donald Trump, said in a statement.

The move by the US senators came as Istanbul's chief prosecutor filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide to MBS and the deputy head of the kingdom's foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince.

Saudi Arabia has said the crown prince had no prior knowledge of the murder. After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate and his body dismembered after negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Yemen war, GCC rift

The strongly-worded resolution also holds MBS accountable for alleged atrocities committed during the war in Yemen, which Saudi Arabia entered in 2015 through a massive bombing campaign.

Since then, the US-backed Saudi-UAE alliance has launched more than 18,000 air raids, part of a war which has killed tens of thousands of civilians.

The senators urged the kingdom to negotiate directly with representatives of the Houthi rebels to end the war in Yemen.

The resolution also called on Saudi Arabia to end a blockade imposed by itself and three other Arab states on Qatar in June last year and seek a political solution in the worst diplomatic rift to have struck the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The bipartisan group of senators also wants the release of blogger Raif Badawi, women's rights activists and other political prisoners held in Saudi Arabia.

'Destabilising actions'

Their move came a day after some senators said there is "zero chance" MBS was not involved in Khashoggi's murder following a closed-door briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Tuesday's briefing came a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis had told senators that there was no hard evidence MBS was behind the killing and urged senators not to downgrade ties with Saudi Arabia over the incident. The CIA has reportedly assessed, however, that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

Trump has repeatedly avoided any assertion that Prince Mohammed was involved in the October 2 killing and said the CIA had "feelings" the royal was culpable but not a firm conviction.

Commenting on the senators' resolution, Nabeel Khoury, a former US diplomat and deputy chief of mission in Yemen, said the Senate is starting to see MBS as a destabilising influence.

"Trump has lost the debate with Congress on what should be done about the Khashoggi murder and while he was out with Mattis and Pompeo arguing about the value of Saudi Arabia, what Congress is telling him is, 'No one is contesting that, what we're contesting is the direction the Saudi policy has taken under MBS'," he told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC.

"They have now linked all the destabilising actions that MBS has taken, starting with Yemen, passing by the Khashoggi murder onto Qatar and even Lebanon.

"The administration will have to act behind the scenes maybe to pressure Saudi Arabia into some kind of acceptable corrective force or this is going to get worse - in the end, Congress, especially the House, controls the purse strings and can eventually force the administration's hands."

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+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-06 14:37
Sounds like pointless posturing to me. The senate could actually do something. It imposed draconian sanctions on Russia and forced Trump to sign those. Why not the same for Saudi Arabia? Why not a total boycott of Saudi oil? Why not a ban on all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia?

22 U.S. Code § 2778 prohibits the sale or gift of US weapons to nations that use them in illegal ways. The senate could force the president to enforce US law.

Of course, all of this equally applies to Saudi Arabia's twin sister, Isreal. The senate will vote shortly to give $38 billion in new weapons to Israel. A NO vote on this bill would show some real commitment by the Senate.

My bet is the senate will continue to support weapons sales to the two worst war criminal nations on earth -- Saudi Arabia and Israel. And together with the US they will stoke the fires of war against Iran.
+1 # Ramon 2018-12-06 23:39
Thanks. I agree. A lot of it is posturing, at least for now. Maybe something better will open up soon.
+3 # RICHARDKANE.Philadelphia 2018-12-07 01:23
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:

My bet is the senate will continue to support weapons sales to the two worst war criminal nations on earth -- Saudi Arabia and Israel. And together with the US they will stoke the fires of war against Iran.

Take a moment to cheer, the fist step forward in years. Every Democrat and 14 Republicans at least temporally said NO!
+11 # DongiC 2018-12-06 19:47
Ah, foreign policy, another area where Trump has unparalleled expertise. Look at. what he has achieved with N Korea. Almost nothing.
With Putin, drop the sanctions allowing the Russians to buy the special drilling equipment needed to tap into the huge bonanza of oil under the Arctic Ocean. Like just what we need as global warming heats up faster than what scientists expected. Then. there is Yemen where a savage war forces a good part of the population to starvation. Where the US is supplying the Saudis much of the ammunition needed as well as intelligence and naval assistance. What makes Saudi Arabia so important? They are a strong ally against Iran and Trump really hates Iran. If World War III breaks out, it will probably start in the bitter relations between US and the Moslem country of 75 to 80 million people.

God spare us all from our "expert" president
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-07 08:23
/dong -- "Look at. what he has achieved with N Korea. Almost nothing."

Actually, the opposite is true. Trump played a key role -- one that Bolton and the neo-cons are now powerless to reverse. Trump's role was small and more symbolic than substantive. But he gave a sort of US permission for North and South Korea to move forward with their own peace talks and unification. Now China and Russia are working with the North on economic relations, violating the US sanctions. The South is also violating the sanctions. All the nations in the region are open about including N. Korea in their economic development.

This is the most hopeful thing that has happened in 70 years. I don't credit any "foreign policy brilliance" on Trump's part. He stumbled into it. The nations in the region were actually ready and waiting for a US president who would stumble. But it turns out a stumble is just what the world needed.

I agree -- Trump hates Iran. But he has offered to meet with Rouhani, just as he did with Kim. This could be another stumbling into a good outcome. I'm sure his neo-con handlers (Bolton and other Israeli stalwarts) won't allow this to happen, however.
+1 # RICHARDKANE.Philadelphia 2018-12-07 01:18
Pope somewhere near the center, Saudi Arabia feels a nagging obligation to make all mortals bow to God and God’s earthly messenger.

Then came the Iranian Revolution where Shiites taking there religion seriously seemed empowering. Suddenly the mosque were providing food and health care etc.

So the Sunni's said we should take our religion seriously including al Qaeda and ISIS which the Saudis think is as suicidal extreme that can just get Muslims killed. Besides trying to stop al Al Qaeda and ISIS the Saudi’s are trying to appease there views by being as pushy and nasty as they think it is safe to do so. Including kidnapping the Prime Minister of Lebanon and starving Qatar into breaking relations with Iran.

Now Saudi Arabia thinks Trump has made it safe to be even more brutal in fulfilling it’s nagging historic obligation.

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