Editor’s Picks: US Senate Corners Trump to Stop Supporting Bin Salman’s Crimes, Yemen War
The US Senate delivered an unusual rebuke of President Donald Trump's response to the murder of Saudi journo Jamal Khashoggi as well as his support of continued Saudi war in Yemen, and signaled new skepticism from Capitol Hill toward the longtime Middle East ally, bringing analysis pieces dealing with the issue on top of the media platform, of which we brought to you some.
The Washington Post’s Editorial Board considered the resolution a powerful repudiation of both Saudi Arabia and Trump.
According to the Post, it was an important step toward holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the murder of its contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The senate unanimously approved a resolution that assigns responsibility to bin Salman for the killing and said the regime’s “misleading statements” about the case “have undermined trust and confidence” in Saudi-US relations.
The vote was a powerful repudiation of Trump’s refusal to accept, or act upon, the truth about the crown prince — and it should cause the president to reconsider.
The resolution’s passage came on the heels of a 56-to-41 vote in favor of another resolution ending US support for the Saudi war in Yemen under the War Powers Act. House Republicans have already moved to block consideration of that measure. But if Speaker Paul D. Ryan [R-Wis.] wishes to end his congressional career with a touch of honor, he should schedule a vote next week on the Khashoggi resolution. House members should have the opportunity to show whether they stand with US intelligence professionals who have concluded that Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for this act of wanton brutality — or with a president who would bury the facts in service of [largely phantom] weapons sales. They should have a chance to stand up for the American values, including support for human rights that Trump has repudiated.
The evidence connecting Mohammed bin Salman to the killing is overwhelming. According to The Post’s reporting, the 15-member team sent to Istanbul to attack Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2 included several of the crown prince’s personal bodyguards. It was headed by another close associate who called a top aide in Riyadh to say that he should “tell your boss” that Mr. Khashoggi was dead. The CIA discovered that the aide, Saud al-Qahtani, and the crown prince exchanged numerous texts during that time period.
Additionally, the Post’s contributor Aaron Blake wrote “The whole Senate just said Trump is wrong.”
Trump and top Cabinet officials have completely obscured and slow-rolled their own intelligence community’s conclusion about the Saudis’ killing of Washington Post Global Opinions columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And on Thursday, every single senator in attendance rebuked them.
Just moments after the Senate passed a resolution calling for an end to US involvement on the Saudi side of the war in Yemen, the GOP-run Senate voted unanimously for Sen. Bob Corker’s, R-Tenn., resolution officially blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s death.
Corker’s resolution says, among other things: “The Senate . . . believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”
That’s also what the CIA has concluded, but it’s a conclusion that Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and even Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have taken great pains to undermine. A couple weeks back, the latter two briefed senators, with Pompeo saying there was no “direct reporting” of Mohammed’s culpability and Mattis saying there was no “smoking gun.” Those statements may be technically true, but they ignore the fact that CIA assessments aren’t legal documents but did assess Mohammed’s responsibility with “high confidence.” They created an impossible standard.
Meanwhile, Reuters’ Patricia Zengerle penned a piece entitled US Senate hands Trump historic rebuke on Saudi Arabia.
In a historic move, senators voted 56-41 to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war. The conflict killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world's most dire human crisis, with the country on the brink of famine.
It was the first time either chamber of Congress had backed a resolution to withdraw US forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act. That law, passed in 1973, limits the president's ability to commit US forces to potential hostilities without congressional approval.
For his part, Imad Zafar’s Asia Times said the US Senate’s Yemen move is a message to Saudi royals.
The Yemen conflict is the most tragic event of recent times, where thousands of innocent people have lost their lives in the war between Saudi forces backed by the US and the Houthi rebels backed by Iran. The innocent people living in Yemen are caught in the middle of this fight as on the one side there are Houthi armed groups who are Shiite Muslims, while on the other side, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is bombing them ruthlessly.
According to Amnesty International, because of this war more than 15,000 people have been killed or injured and it has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. Perhaps this move from the US Senate will help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Yemenis targeted mercilessly by the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi armed groups.
One wonders why it took Jamal Khashoggi’s murder to make the lawmakers realize that the US has been backing Saudi Arabia in killing thousands of civilians in Yemen.
Perhaps this can be seen as a signal to the Saudi kingdom that the US is ready to hold Mohammad bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s killing. Anger had been growing in the US over the recent findings of the Central Intelligence Agency that pointed to possible involvement by the crown prince in the killing and Turkey’s claim of a telephonic recording in which the killers were talking to higher Saudi officials about the success of the mission.
Source: Al-Ahed News