Khashoggi murder: Turkey orders arrest of senior Saudi officials

Hugh Fox
December 7, 2018

The resolution also criticises Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, and a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

"We need to be careful", the Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said. Obviously that's a huge sign of progress, but an even more important takeaway is the fact that these senators say they feel purposefully mislead by a Republican administration, and have made a vote against its interests.

In recent years, the kingdom and Prince Mohammed have cultivated an image of Saudi Arabia as a country on the path to modernization, providing its citizens with greater freedoms, such as permitting women to drive.

Despite President Donald Trump's desire to maintain close ties to Saudi Arabia, several of his fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in blaming the crown prince for Khashoggi's death and backing legislation to respond by ending USA support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, imposing new sanctions and stopping weapons sales.

Saudi contracts create jobs and additional wealth for the United States, Trump has said. "I think we have the votes to proceed (on his resolution) and I hope we can proceed in an orderly way".

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The U.S. has slapped sanctions on Saudis involved in the murder.

Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, has spiraled into the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Leadership is anxious that the Senate floor not get bogged down in the waning days of the lame-duck session. That afternoon, senators frustrated with the briefing and the lack of response to Khashoggi's killing overwhelmingly voted to move forward with consideration of the Yemen resolution, 63-37. Lindsey Graham, and by Democratic Sen.

A woman holds a child suffering from malnutrition at a treatment center in a hospital in Taez, Yemen, Nov. 21, 2018.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Graham said, in an apparent reference to reports that the columnist was beheaded, dismembered and his fingers were severed. "Because we've got a couple of very perplexing problems; the first is this and it's simple: We have to have a relationship with some players that we don't agree with".

Among the options: pull back from USA involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen; deny any arms sales with Saudi Arabia; slap the crown prince with sanctions, along with a resolution saying the Senate finds him complicit in murder.

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"It'll have teeth", said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, who added that the senators are trying to piece together various proposals into one plan to achieve bipartisan consensus.

Meanwhile, the military relations between Washington and Riyadh have not been changed following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Dunford stressed.

The ambassador is the brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose alleged role in ordering the murder is at the heart of a burning controversy in the USA and across the world.

But after a briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel, senators accused the Prince Mohammed of being behind the killing. "He murdered him. No question in my mind".

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