US Se­nate in­tro­duces res­o­lu­tion call­ing MBS com­plicit in Khashoggi mur­der

A group of U.S. law­mak­ers took a step against Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man through a res­o­lu­tion that pins the mur­der of Ja­mal Khashoggi on him

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

A GROUP of United States sen­a­tors on Wed­nes­day in­tro­duced a res­o­lu­tion ac­cus­ing the Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man (MBS) of tak­ing part in the mur­der of dis­si­dent Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, who was known as a critic of Riyadh’s poli­cies. The res­o­lu­tion is largely sym­bolic, but it reg­is­ters the Se­nate’s dis­com­fort with the killing and the re­sponse of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. It’s among sev­eral mea­sures be­ing con­sid­ered af­ter a closed-door briefing by CIA di­rec­tor Gina Haspel on Capi­tol Hill.

IN­TRO­DUCED by a top Trump ally, Repub­li­can Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, and by Demo­cratic Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, the res­o­lu­tion says the Se­nate be­lieves MBS “was in control of se­cu­rity forces” dur­ing the killing and has “a high level of con­fi­dence” that the crown prince was “com­plicit” in the mur­der, based on “ev­i­dence and anal­y­sis made avail­able.”

Khashoggi was killed in the king­dom’s Is­tan­bul con­sulate on Oct. 2 by a team of 15 peo­ple con­sist­ing of Saudi of­fi­cials who ar­rived in Turkey for his mur­der and a cover-up op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing dis­mem­ber­ing Khashoggi’s body. All of the iden­ti­fied in­di­vid­u­als have since left Turkey. Saudi Ara­bia has said the prince had no prior knowl­edge of the mur­der. Af­ter of­fer­ing nu­mer­ous con­tra­dic­tory ex­pla­na­tions, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dis­mem­bered when ne­go­ti­a­tions to per­suade him to re­turn to Saudi Ara­bia failed. Saudi au­thor­i­ties launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion against 21 peo­ple over the mur­der, de­tain­ing some of the sus­pects and seek­ing death penalty for five.

“I be­lieve it’s vi­tally im­por­tant to U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests to make a de­fin­i­tive state­ment about the bru­tal mur­der of an Amer­i­can res­i­dent, Mr. Khashoggi, who has three Amer­i­can cit­i­zen chil­dren,” Gra­ham said in a state­ment.

The non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion is also seek­ing to hold the crown prince ac­count­able for con­tribut­ing to the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Ye­men, the block­ade of Qatar, the jail­ing of po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dents in Riyadh and the use of force to in­tim­i­date ri­vals.

If ap­proved, the res­o­lu­tion would put the Se­nate on record as say­ing that the crown prince is re­spon­si­ble for Khashoggi’s killing. It would also pres­sure Trump to de­cide whether to veto the mea­sure.

The res­o­lu­tion also calls on Saudi Ara­bia’s gov­ern­ment to ne­go­ti­ate with representatives of the Houthi rebel group in Ye­men and agree to a po­lit­i­cal res­o­lu­tion and end the coun­try’s hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

Pre­vi­ously, sen­a­tors leav­ing the briefing with Haspel on Tues­day said that they are even more con­vinced that the Saudi crown prince was in­volved in the death of Khashoggi.

Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Corker, said he be­lieves if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in “about 30 min­utes.”

“I have zero ques­tion in my mind that the Crown Prince MBS or­dered the killing, mon­i­tored the killing, knew ex­actly what was hap­pen­ing and planned it in ad­vance,” Corker said to re­porters.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials also have con­cluded be­fore that the crown prince must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has been re­luc­tant to pin the blame. He has touted Saudi arms deals worth bil­lions of dol­lars to the U.S. and re­cently thanked Saudi Ara­bia for plung­ing oil prices.


Mean­while, Saudi Am­bas­sador to the United States Khalid bin Sal­man, the brother of MBS, has re­turned to Wash­ing­ton af­ter leav­ing the U.S. cap­i­tal in the wake of the mur­der of Khashoggi, an of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day.

“His Royal High­ness the am­bas­sador is in Wash­ing­ton,” em­bassy spokes­woman Fa­timah Baeshen told Agence FrancePresse (AFP).

Prince Khalid has de­nied any in­volve­ment of MBS to the mur­der, and called it a “se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tion.”

The Saudi For­eign Minister Adel alJubeir mean­while was also in Wash­ing­ton on Fri­day to rep­re­sent his coun­try at the fu­neral of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, ac­cord­ing to Baeshen.

She did not add whether al-Jubeir would meet with ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials dur­ing his stay.

Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man is seen be­hind a mil­i­tary band upon his ar­rival at Al­giers In­ter­na­tional Air­port, south­east of the cap­i­tal Al­giers on Dec. 2.

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., chair­man of the Sub­com­mit­tee on Crime and Ter­ror­ism, speaks to re­porters af­ter a closed-door se­cu­rity briefing by CIA Di­rec­tor Gina Haspel on the slay­ing of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi and the in­volve­ment of Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, Dec. 4.

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