Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Senate to declare MbS 'complicit' in Khashoggi death

US Senate to declare MbS 'complicit' in Khashoggi death

Six top U.S. 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. It's among several measures being considered after a closed Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Capitol Hill.

"I would imagine in a Democratic administration, I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia", Graham said of Mattis and Pompeo.

Turkey is seeking to arrest two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who were dismissed amid the fallout from the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There's a smoking saw", Graham said, referring to reports from the Turkish government that said Saudi agents used a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed in the Istanbul consulate, where he had gone to obtain paperwork enabling him to marry his fiancee.

"In March 2015, Saudi Arabia instituted a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen, and now maintains strict limits on air and sea transit to the country which contribute to delays of critical humanitarian aid and commercial supplies to a nation that imports as much as 90 percent of its food and relies on imported fuel", the resolution reads. "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. "You want a snapshot of the future, it's that high-five between Putin and MBS [a reference to the crown prince's initials]", he said.

The Saudi prince is facing continuing pressure over the October 2 killing of the journalist inside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. "Now's the time to come down hard", he said.

This was contrasted with the various lawmakers who said Salman's guilt is unquestionable after they were briefed on the matter by CIA Director Gina Haspel.

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Ian McLeod, spokesperson for Canada's Justice Department, said on Wednesday the arrest took place in Vancouver on December 1. Canada, Australia and New Zealand were among the nations to ban the use of Huawei's equipment due to security concerns.

Last week, Pompeo claimed there was no definitive evidence that MbS was behind Khashoggi's murder, while Mattis simply said there was "no smoking gun".

President Trump has equivocated about assigning blame for Khashoggi's killing, frustrating lawmakers from both parties.

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

Anyone who looked at the evidence would have to be "willfully blind" not to reach the conclusion that the killing was "orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS", as Salman is known, Graham said. The Saudi coalition faced criticism for indiscriminately bombing civilian targets and infrastructure, though the Trump administration argues the situation would be much worse without USA assistance.

"There are lots of Republicans who are going to try to water this down, but they'll have to find 50 votes, and I'm not sure that they have 50 votes for a substitute. Guilty. A guilty verdict", Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

Graham has said the resolution would be followed by an effort to impose sanctions.

"If our government knows that Saudi leaders were involved in the murder of a USA resident, why shouldn't the public know this?" he said.

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