Trump read­ies lim­ited pun­ish­ment for Saudis

The Buffalo News - - PARK RECOMMENDATIONS - By Ju­lian E. Barnes and Ed­ward Wong NEW YORK TIMES

WASH­ING­TON – The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is pre­par­ing to end air re­fu­el­ing flights for the Saudi Ara­bian mil­i­tary cam­paign in Ye­men and im­pose sanc­tions against Saudis linked to the killing of Ja­mal Khashoggi, cur­rent and for­mer U.S. of­fi­cials said Fri­day, moves that im­pose a lim­ited pun­ish­ment on the king­dom.

The steps ap­pear cal­i­brated to re­spond to in­ter­na­tional out­rage over Khashoggi’s death and to thou­sands of civil­ian deaths in the Ye­men war but avoid di­rectly pun­ish­ing the Saudi crown prince, Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, and could head off tougher con­gres­sional ac­tion.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi gov­ern­ment who wrote for te Wash­ing­ton Post and lived in Vir­ginia, was killed last month in the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul by what the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has de­scribed as a kill team dis­patched from Riyadh, the Saudi cap­i­tal. Pres­i­dent Trump has called Khashoggi’s killing a “very sad thing, very ter­ri­ble thing,” but his ad­min­is­tra­tion has sig­naled it in­tends to con­tinue work­ing with Crown Prince Mo­hammed.

Jared Kush­ner, Trump’s son-in­law and se­nior ad­viser on the Mid­dle East, is the prince’s big­gest sup­porter in the White House.

Saudi Ara­bia is ex­pected to an­nounce next week that it will no longer use U.S. aerial re­fu­el­ing planes, a move the Pen­tagon will re­in­force. A Pen­tagon spokes­woman de­clined to com­ment.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is also ex­pected to soon an­nounce eco­nomic sanc­tions against Saudi of­fi­cials linked to Khashoggi’s mur­der, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent and for­mer of­fi­cials.

They said se­nior of­fi­cials at the White House and State and Trea­sury de­part­ments had dis­cussed im­pos­ing the sanc­tions un­der the Global Mag­nit­sky Act, which gives the ex­ec­u­tive branch the power to pun­ish for­eign of­fi­cials in­volved in hu­man rights abuses.

The an­nounce­ment could come in days.

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