Senate Gears Up for Unpredictable Debate on Saudi Arabia and Yemen

06 December, 2018, 22:58 | Author: Carlos George
  • Yasin Aktay an adviser to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with US actor Sean Penn in Ankara Turkey. Penn is in Turkey working on a documentary about the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 in Istanbul

Meanwhile, several people within President Donald Trump's administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, and the president himself, have said they do know think there is anything definitive linking the crown prince to the Khashoggi murder.

Haspel appeared on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to brief a dozen or so senators on intelligence the CIA had about Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey two months ago.

So far, President Trump has given the Saudi crown prince the benefit of the doubt about his role in the incident. The Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing USA backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

Graham added that his opinion on Saudi Arabia had changed and that he would no longer support the war in Yemen or arms sales between the US and the kingdom until the issue was addressed. Corker said it's going to be hard to determine what measure the Senate can pass with overwhelming support.

Senator Bob Corker said: "I have zero question on my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing". If he were in front of a jury, "he would have a unanimous verdict in about 30 minutes".

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) echoed that conclusion. "The motion to proceed's going to pass, and we're going to be in a fearless new world", the Connecticut Democrat told Roll Call on Tuesday.

"The worldwide community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia's commitment to prosecute this heinous crime", the official said, adding that by extraditing all suspects to Turkey, "Saudi authorities could address those concerns". Following the briefing, a handful of senators said they believe that MBS ordered the hit on Khashoggi.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Post reported that Khalid told Khashoggi "that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so". "I know there are going to be a lot of efforts to try to remove the underlying language and replace it with something weaker".

"While I will not discuss the content of the Haspel briefing, it reinforced the need for a strong response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi", the New York Democrat said.

"And the second thing is what is in the best interest of the United States and this is a very, very hard challenge because we have to, on one hand, hold them accountable, including the crown prince, for whatever action he may be involved with", the Utah congressman said.

But after Tuesday's Central Intelligence Agency briefing, Republican Sen. Graham is quick to defend Pompeo and Mattis, calling them "good soldiers" in his statement, but he throws Trump under the bus.

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