Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Saudi crown prince ‘ordered, monitored’ killing of Khashoggi, Corker says

Saudi crown prince ‘ordered, monitored’ killing of Khashoggi, Corker says

Lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee used a nomination hearing on Tuesday that included Christopher Henzel, a career diplomat tapped to be next ambassador to Yemen, to vent their frustrations about the Trump administration over its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Sen.

The Senate is gearing up for a potentially unwieldy debate over USA policy regarding Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and a Tuesday briefing for key senators from the Central Intelligence Agency chief did nothing to thwart that. Lindsey Graham (SC) disagreed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, but has insisted it was not King Salman.

Mr Khashoggi was killed - and is believed to have been dismembered - after entering the Saudi consulate to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage. It says Saudi Arabia should be held accountable for "contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents within Saudi Arabia, the use of force to intimidate rivals, and the abhorrent and unjustified killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

"I think the reason they don't draw the conclusion that he's complicit, is because the administration doesn't want to go down that road, not because there's not evidence to suggest he's complicit", he said. "There is no way we're gonna continue to do business with Saudi Arabia as if this never happened".

Following a closed-door briefing between CIA Director Gina Haspel and senators on Tuesday, the Republican from SC stood firmly in opposition to Trump's continued support of the Saudi leader. Graham described the evidence as "a smoking saw".

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

"It is wrong to suggest that maintaining USA alliances consists of mutually exclusive choices between power and principles", he said. "You have to be willfully blind" not to see it.

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

"I think the secretary of Defense and secretary of State are in a bad spot because the president has given this bear hug to MBS and to the entire Saudi regime, so they are bound to carry out his weird policy", he told MSNBC. The next vote, a motion to proceed with the final vote, could come as soon as Thursday, Senate aides told Foreign Policy.

He said that Saudi Arabia disrespected its relationship with the United States and needs to fix it.

But Graham said he would not support the joint resolution that would cut off military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

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