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Cole, writes: "Among the things Saudi Arabia wants from the United States is support for its war on Yemen and permission to buy from US arms corporations state-of-the-art military weaponry. Both things are now in peril, as key Republican senators reacted to a secret briefing by Gina Haspel, director of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman. (photo: Bandar Algaloud/Reuters)
Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman. (photo: Bandar Algaloud/Reuters)


FOCUS | "A Smoking Saw": Bin Salman Loses Support of Key GOP Senators With CIA Briefing

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

05 December 18

 

mong the things Saudi Arabia wants from the United States is support for its war on Yemen and permission to buy from US arms corporations state-of-the-art military weaponry. Both things are now in peril, as key Republican senators reacted to a secret briefing by Gina Haspel, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Haspel gave her presentation to only 8, arbitrarily chosen senators. They included outgoing senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and the senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both of whom came out after the briefing to say they had no doubt at all that Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered and managed the assassination of dissident journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified to the senate that the CIA had not linked the crown prince to the murder definitively.

Corker said after the briefing that if Bin Salman went before a jury, “he would be convicted in 30 minutes.”

Graham said, “”There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw. . . You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.” He added, “It is zero chance — zero — that this happened without the crown prince.”

Graham lambasted Bin Salman as “crazy” and said the he would find it difficult to vote for future Saudi arms purchases: “If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man, I find it very difficult to be able to do business because I think he’s crazy, I think he’s dangerous, and he has put the relationship at risk.” Graham had been an early critic of Trump, but then seemed to fall into line behind the president, but he is now bucking him on Saudi Arabia.

The sentiments pose a real problem for Bin Solman going forward. The Senate is expected to do vote on a resolution to withdraw from the Saudi-led Yemen War later this week. The US has since 2015 provided in-air refueling and other logistical help to the war effort, as well as advising the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates on targeting.

That the briefing was limited to 8 senators proved controversial among the other 92, with Rand Paul railing against the “deep state.”

Bin Salman’s erratic and criminal behavior has been winked at by the governments of the UK and Russia, as well as by Trump and his administration. But this Senate hearing suggested that Bin Salman will face consequences of his actions in at least one branch of the US government.

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+29 # Citizen Mike 2018-12-05 19:14
Why will Trump not find fault with this prince? Because he is happy that he tortured to death a one of his enemies. Kashoggi got in trouble in Saudi Arabia for criticizing Trump and continued to do so at the Washington Post. So Trump was happy to see him cut up alive.
 
 
+6 # indian weaving 2018-12-06 08:20
Trump's overall agenda, his primary priority, is to get richer when in office, period. SA is part of this agenda. Nothing will make Trump part from SA due to the immense profits possible for him there in real estate / hotels / golf / etc.
 
 
+37 # futhark 2018-12-05 20:17
Even the most thick headed Republican politicians are starting to wake up to the fact that a lot of the money they keep voting to be spent improving American "security" by giving open authorization for military aide to supposedly "friendly" regimes is actually making the world safer for dictators, tyrants, and thugs, whose operating principles have more in common with organized crime than with democracy and justice. The fact that the White House occupant can't understand or acknowledge this is another indication of his manifest unfitness for the office of chief executive.
 
 
+29 # economagic 2018-12-05 20:39
Gee, Lindsey -- CRAZY? Naive to the verge of stupid to think he could pull off such a job with such a big footprint, but no crazier than any other uber-oligarch drunk on power.
 
 
+9 # BetaTheta 2018-12-05 23:13
MBS and Trump operate on similar wavelengths: Having spent their entire lives certain that the rules for little people do not apply to them, they are shocked to find otherwise.
 
 
+6 # LiberalRN 2018-12-05 23:15
I'm more inclined to think this is the ever self-serving GOP recognizing that public opinion is starting to turn against them, and not newly-found outrage over the Khashoggi murder. They were oddly silent about it prior to the midterms, ignoring evidence to the contrary. And "difficult to do business" with an MBS regime? Only until the spotlight is shining elsewhere, or until the, um, incentive$ are sufficient to overcome the difficulty.
 
 
+5 # bob1941 2018-12-06 11:08
It's amazing that MBS is considered more inhumane than previous leaders of Saudi Arabia. Public beheadings, etc., have been standard in that country for decades and the U.S.A. turned a blind eye to it, not to mention the mysogamy, religious intolerance, and a host of other crimes against humanity. Finally, the murder of one journalist gets the Republicans' attention. I do not intend to demean the horrific current crime, but it's nothing new!
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2018-12-06 11:31
THE CIA IMPERILS DICKHEAD'S "HOUSE OF LIES!" Bin Salman Loses Support of Key GOP Senators With CIA Briefing
 

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