Trump brushes aside CIA assertion that crown prince ordered killing, defends him and Saudi Arabia
1 hr ago
President Trump on Thursday contradicted the CIA’s assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, insisting that the agency had “feelings” but did not firmly place blame for the death.
Trump, in defiant remarks to reporters from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, defended his continued support for Mohammed in the face of a CIA assessment that the crown prince had ordered the killing.
“He denies it vehemently,” Trump said of the crown prince. He said his own conclusion was that “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.”
“I hate the crime, I hate the coverup. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do, and they have vehemently denied it,” Trump said.
Asked who should be held accountable for the death of Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, Trump again refused to place blame.
“Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very, very vicious place,” the president said.
He also seemed to suggest that all U.S. allies were guilty of the same behavior, declaring that if the others were held to the standard that critics have held Saudi Arabia to in recent days, “we wouldn’t be able to have anyone for an ally.”
Trump’s remarks came after he held a conference call with U.S. military officers overseas, during which he repeatedly praised his administration and sought to draw the officers into discussions of domestic policy.
Returning to a recurrent pre-election theme, the president also warned the nation about threats he said were being posed by a caravan of people seeking eventual asylum in the United States.
He told reporters that he had shut down “parts of the border” because of “rioting on the other side” and that he was prepared to do so again. It was not clear what the president meant.
“They called me up and I signed an order,” said Trump, who declined when asked whether he would publicly release the document.
He also said that he had “given the okay” for U.S. troops to use lethal force against anyone crossing the border who represented a threat. U.S. military forces are typically not allowed to take such actions, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has already signaled his disinclination to change that policy.
The president’s televised holiday phone call with U.S. military officers was meant to deflect criticism he has faced for not yet visiting a war zone, as previous presidents have done. Asked whether he would be traveling to visit soldiers, Trump said, “We’re going to do some interesting things at the appropriate time.” He declined any further explanation.
Yet if the Thanksgiving morning activity was meant to allay one political firestorm, the president’s remarks on Khashoggi only inflamed another.
Time and again, the president has sided with Saudi officials and their explanations of the events leading to the killing, rather than with his own country’s intelligence community.
He sided anew against the CIA on Thursday, noting that in Saudi Arabia “at the top level they say they did not commit this atrocity.”
Again on Thursday, Trump indicated that the ally’s economic contributions weighed on him more than the death of a U.S. resident.
“Do people really want me to give up hundreds of thousands of jobs?” he asked when pressed about whether Saudi Arabia’s actions deserved a stiff penalty.
As he has before, he credited the nation for a drop in oil prices — while also crediting himself for “jawboning” Saudi Arabia — and said that a global depression could arise if the price of oil were to rise.
He also alluded to the close relationship that Mohammed had forged with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner over the course of the administration. The two have repeatedly talked as part of Kushner’s Middle Eastern portfolio.
“Till this happened, there were a lot of people saying a lot of good things about the crown prince,” Trump said.
Trump also continued for a second day his dispute with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. over the judgments of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which the president has regularly castigated.
In a rare public statement, Roberts on Wednesday had defended the nation’s judges, saying that an independent judiciary was critical to the nation.
Trump opened Thanksgiving morning with tweets critical of the jurist.
“Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country,” he tweeted, repeating a falsehood he has often leveled at the court.
Talking to reporters later, Trump said he liked and respected Roberts but added that “I think we need to use some common sense.” He also escalated his criticism of the appellate court, saying that “we’re going to have to stop that somehow.”
The 633-word statement of President Donald Trump on the Saudi royals’ role in the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi is a remarkable document, not only for its ice-cold candor.
The president re-raises a question that has roiled the nation since Jimmy Carter: To what degree should we allow idealistic values trump vital interests in determining foreign policy?
On the matter of who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump does not rule out the crown prince as prime suspect:
“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder… (but) it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge.”
Yet, whether MBS did or didn’t do it, the Saudis have “agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States.” And a full fourth of that is for “military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other great U.S. defense contractors.”
“Foolishly” cancel these contracts, warns Trump, and Russia or China will snap them up. Moreover, the Saudis have agreed to pump oil to keep prices down.
Trump is unabashedly putting U.S. economic and strategic interests first. He is not going to damage our relationship with Riyadh and its royal family, even if the future king ordered a cold-blooded killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist he regarded as an enemy.
The stark manner in which Trump framed the issue will force the members of Congress of both parties to decide whether they wish to defy Trump, sanction the Saudis and risk the relationship.
Other contentions in Trump’s statement suggest that one of the reasons he is giving the crown prince a pass on the Khashoggi killing is that he sees MBS as an indispensable ally against our real enemy in the region.
After his introductory line, Trump goes into a tear that begins: “The country of Iran… is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen.”
But is this true?
In 2015, it was on the orders of Mohammad bin Salman, then defense minister, that Saudi Arabia intervened in the civil war in Yemen, after Houthi rebels in the north overthrew a Saudi puppet and overran much of the rest of the country.
It is not Iran but Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with U.S. munitions and logistic support, whose troops, bombs and blockade are responsible for the thousands of causalities in Yemen and the millions who suffer from cholera, malnutrition and starvation.
It is not the Iranians who are trying to close the last port of entry for humanitarian aid for the suffering civilian population.
Iran, said Trump, is “propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens)… Likewise the Iranians have killed many Americans and other people throughout the Middle East.”
But the cause of the 7,000 U.S. military dead in the Middle East in this century, and the 60,000 wounded, are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were launched by the United States and George Bush, not by Iran.
As for U.S. civilian casualties, the 3,000 we lost in that monstrous atrocity of 9/11 were the victims of 15 Saudi terrorists, not Iranians.
While Iran has aided its Shiite allies in Iraq, and those allies have fought Americans, the major terrorist organizations we fight today in the Near East, Middle East and Africa — al-Qaida and its affiliates, the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab — are all Sunni, like the Saudis.
These terrorist groups are Iran’s enemies as well as ours.
“Our paramount goal,” Trump declared in his statement, “is to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world.”
But this objective is every bit as utopian as George W. Bush’s second inaugural where he declared the “ultimate goal” of U.S. foreign policy to be “ending tyranny in our world.”
Terrorism and tyranny have been with mankind forever, and they will be with mankind forever.
Trump both titled and concluded his statement “America First.”
And had an America First policy been pursued in this century, we would not today be tied down in these forever wars of the Middle East.
We would not have attempted to create a Western-style democracy in the wilds of Afghanistan. We would not have invaded Iraq, or attacked Libya, or armed rebels to overthrow Assad, thereby igniting a war that has cost half a million Syrian lives and made refugees of millions.
In his statement, Trump praises Saudi Arabia as a “great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
Yet, Iran has not attacked us, does not want war with us and remains in compliance with the nuclear treaty from which we walked away.
Trump is president because he promised to extricate us from the Mideast wars into which some of his closest advisers, along with some of our closest “allies,” helped to plunge his country.
Is President Trump about to replicate President Bush’s folly?
The Turks may still yet have the ultimate "smoking gun" leak up their sleeve which could put to bed the whole question over whether Saudi crown prince MbS personally ordered the October 2nd killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The story broke on Thursday as Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving, and as President Trump — spending the holidays a Mar-a-Lago — took time to tell reporters at a press conference that the CIA "didn't conclude" that MbS ordered the killing while hedging that he "might have done it".
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News said on Thursday the CIA has a recording of a phone call in which the crown prince gave instructions to"silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible." The possible existence of such a tape could put Trump in an awkward position if its contents are leaked given his consistent defense of MbS amidst the scandal and growing calls for accountability.
Photos via the AP
Thus far the slow drip of Turkish leaks have proven accurate, and Hurriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi broke the news of the first recording that captured Khashoggi's death inside the Istanbul consulate, which proved accurate according to reports. Selvi wrote on Thursday, "There is talk of another recording" which involves a CIA eavesdrop of a call between MbS and his brother Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S.
The crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during [a] CIA wiretapping.
Selvi also reported that during her trip to Ankara last month, CIA Director Gina Haspel "signaled" the existence of the tape.
"It is being said that CIA chief Gina Haspel indicated this during her visit to Turkey," Selvi wrote. The revelation, though not confirmed, came a day after Turkish news site Haberturk published what it said were quotes from a tape of Khashoggi's last moments as he was apprehended the moment he stepped inside the consulate.
"Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?" Khashoggi was reported to have said upon entering the visa department of the consulate building, and where the seven minutes of the tape are recorded. "Traitor! You will be brought to account," one among the assassination team is captured in the audio as staying, according to Haberturk.
The rest of the audio includes what the Turkish news site describes as "verbal fighting, brawling and torture."
Last weekend it was revealed by the Washington Post that a confidential CIA report pointed directly to crown prince MbS ordering the hit.
Trump received the full report on Tuesday, after which he issued a written statement praising Saudi Arabia and underscoring that the US close relationship, vital to the economy, is with the kingdom and no one ruler.
“You can conclude maybe he did or maybe he didn’t,” Trump said about the CIA report during his Thursday comments. “Whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently.” When asked who should be held accountable for the crime Trump responded, “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very, very vicious place.”
But Turkey's President Erdogan is unlikely to let MbS off that easy given the tortuously slow, and mostly accurate, leaks that have dripped out of Turkish state media so far. Likely the public is only days or weeks away from hearing the no doubt shocking audio of Khashoggi's killing for themselves, as Turkish sources have signaled more major evidence is coming.
Sen. Jack Reed: Trump lying about CIA's Khashoggi report CNN
Published on Nov 23, 2018
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused President Donald Trump of lying about the CIA's report that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Turkish authorities are still hunting for the remains of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the threat of what's said to be a harrowing audio recording depicting his agonizing final moments as he was assassinated by a 15-man Saudi hit squad may materialize at any moment, but largely thanks to President Trump's willingness to countenance Khashoggi's murder to help preserve the US-Saudi relationship (and ensure that oil prices continue to move lower), the kingdom's young de facto leader, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is facing minimal international repercussions over suspicions that he personally ordered the killing (a claim he has repeatedly denied).
But the US's unwillingness to confront MbS isn't shared by Argentina. Argentine prosecutors are reportedly pursuing criminal charges against the prince that could lead to his arrest in Buenos Aires later this week in what has become the most serious backlash to the Khashoggi diplomatic crisis since everybody who doesn't sell arms to the Saudis said they would stop selling arms to the Saudis.
According to the New York Times, Argentina is investigating MbS for involvement in 'war crimes' in what the paper described as "the most significant test yet of Prince Mohammed’s ability to move past the international uproar that has surrounded him since the killing of the Saudi dissident...Khashoggi." MbS, along with other leaders of G-20 states, is expected to travel to Buenos Aires later this week for the annual G-20 summit.
But the investigation isn't strictly focused on whether MbS was involved in organizing the hit on Khashoggi. Instead, prosecutors are examining his involvement in the myriad 'war crimes' committed by Saudi during its brutal proxy war in Yemen.
Although it is the killing and subsequent dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi by Saudi agents in a consulate in Istanbul that has most damaged Prince Mohammed’s international image, the Argentine inquiry appears to center on potential crimes committed during the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.
Prince Mohammed, who is the kingdom’s defense minister as well as its de facto day-to-day ruler, has led a three-and-a-half-year bombing campaign and naval blockade of Yemen by a coalition of Arab allies seeking to dislodge from power a Yemeni faction allied with Iran.
"Some of these attacks - if ordered or carried out by individuals with criminal intent - may amount to war crimes," Mr. Roth wrote.
By restricting critical food imports, the Saudi-led coalition "may also have violated the prohibition against using starvation as a method of warfare, which is a war crime," the petition argued.
While MbS would almost certainly be shielded by diplomatic immunity, the scandal surrounding any charges could still ruin his trip. What's worse, a scandal in Argentina could spoil the prince's "victory lap" tour of friendly nations just as it was supposed to reach its conclusion. The Argentine investigation was provoked by nonprofit groups like Human Rights Watch, which petitioned for an investigation knowing that the country's court system is uniquely equipped for prosecuting heads of state.
As Saudi's defense minister and its de facto leader, MbS has overseen airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including one in August 2018 that elicited an international outcry when it killed 26 Yemeni children and wounded 19 others when a bomb was dropped on a school bus. Another airstrike in October 2016 killed or wounded thousands of civilians at a crowded funeral. The examples of brutality are legion.
Carlos Rívolo, the head of the prosecutor’s association, said a complaint against the crown prince was referred to a prosecutor on Monday, and that prosecutor will now decide whether to open a formal investigation.
Such cases are assigned by draw in Argentina, and the prosecutor assigned to evaluate the potential charges, Ramiro González, could not be reached for comment.
Mr. González has a record of handling international human rights cases, including leading an eight-year-old Argentine prosecution of crimes committed during the 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in Spain. (Spain used the same principle of universal jurisdiction to bring charges against an Argentine military official, who was sentenced in 2005.)
Many pundits have wondered why the Khashoggi killing has sparked such intense international outrage when the Kingdom is supporting the butchering of tens of thousands of Yemenis via brutal airstrikes that have heaped collateral damage upon the country. But then again, Saudi Arabia is using US-made weapons to carry out these strikes. Which is why even if Argentina is willing to prosecute MbS, the threat of President Trump following in the Latin American country's footsteps is nil.
BAKU - For nearly three centuries, numerous tribes and empires sought to subjugate the Arabian Peninsula. During that relentless conflict for power, the House of Saud was defeated, expelled from their homeland, and essentially hinged on the brink of annihilation. Yet, fuelled by religious fervour, the Saudis eventually bested their rivals and established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Senators send rebuke to Saudis, Trump over Khashoggi murder
3 hrs ago
WASHINGTON — Defying President Donald Trump, senators sent a strong signal that they want to punish Saudi Arabia for its role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. By a bipartisan 63-37 vote, the Senate opted to move forward with legislation calling for an end to U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The vote on Wednesday was a rebuke not only to Saudi Arabia but also to Trump's administration, which has made clear it does not want to torpedo the long-standing U.S. relationship with Riyadh over the killing.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis both came to Capitol Hill to urgently lobby against the resolution, which would call for an end to U.S. military assistance for the conflict that human rights advocates say is wreaking havoc on Yemen and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing.
The vote showed a significant number of Republicans were willing to break with Trump to express their deep dissatisfaction with Saudi Arabia and with the U.S. response to Khashoggi's brutal killing in Turkey last month. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has equivocated over who was to blame.
Khashoggi, who lived in the U.S. and wrote for The Washington Post, was publicly critical of the Saudi crown prince. He was killed in what U.S. officials have described as an elaborate plot at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which he had visited for marriage paperwork.
Echoing Trump's public comments on the killing, Pompeo said after Wednesday's briefing with senators that there was "no direct reporting" connecting the crown prince to the murder, and Mattis said there was "no smoking gun" making the connection.
Pompeo argued that the war in Yemen would be "a hell of a lot worse" if the United States were not involved.
Wednesday's procedural vote sets up a floor debate on the resolution next week. It would be largely a symbolic move, however, as House Republican leaders have given no indication they would take up the war powers measure before the end of the year — the end of the current Congress.
Several senators said they were angry about the absence of CIA Director Gina Haspel from the pre-vote briefing.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speculated that Haspel didn't attend because she "would have said with a high degree of confidence that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi."
And Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is often strongly allied with Trump, voted to move forward with the resolution and said he would insist on a briefing from Haspel. He even threatened to withhold his vote on key measures if that didn't happen and declared, "I'm not going to blow past this."
CIA press secretary Timothy Barrett said that no one kept Haspel away from the briefing. He said the CIA had already briefed the Senate intelligence committee and Senate leaders and "will continue to provide updates on this important matter to policymakers and Congress."
In another explanation, a White House official said Haspel decided not to participate in part because of frustration with lawmakers leaking classified intelligence from such settings. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
The procedural vote received more Republican support than had been expected after the resolution, sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, fell six votes short of passage earlier this year.
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in the past he had "laid in the railroad tracks to keep us from doing things that I believe are against our national interest as it relates to Saudi Arabia." But he said he believes the Senate should "figure out some way for us to send the appropriate message to Saudi Arabia that appropriately displays American values and American national interests."
He said the crown prince "owns this death. He owns it."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., voted against moving ahead with the resolution but said a day earlier that "some kind of response" was needed from the United States for the Saudis' role in Khashoggi's death. On Tuesday, he said that "what obviously happened, as basically certified by the CIA, is completely abhorrent to everything the United States holds dear and stands for in the world."
Pompeo said U.S. involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East. His language was blunt in a Wall Street Journal article, writing that Khashoggi's murder "has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on. But degrading U.S.-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies."
Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments — and a long and unusual statement last week — he reinforced the United States' long-standing alliance with the Saudis. Trump has praised a pending arms deal with the kingdom that he says will provide the U.S. with jobs and lucrative payments, though some outside assessments say the economic benefits are exaggerated.
Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Zeke Miller, Matthew Daly, Kevin Freking, Maria Danilova and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.
The following is the Nov. 28, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Iran Sanctions.
From the report
U.S. sanctions have had a substantial effect on Iran’s economy and on some major strategic decisions, but little or no effect on Iran’s regional malign activities. During 2012-2015, when the global community was relatively united in pressuring Iran, Iran’s economy shrank by 9% per year, crude oil exports fell from about 2.5 million barrels per day (mbd) to about 1.1 mbd, and Iran was unable to repatriate more than $120 billion in reserves held in banks abroad. The 2015 multilateral nuclear accord (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) provided Iran broad relief from the international and U.S. secondary sanctions as the U.S. Administration waived relevant sanctions, revoked relevant executive orders (E.O.s), and corresponding U.N. and EU sanctions were lifted. Remaining in place were a general ban on U.S. trade with Iran and sanctions imposed on Iran’s support for regional governments and armed factions, its human rights abuses, its efforts to acquire missile and advanced conventional weapons capabilities, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Some additional sanctions on these entities and activities were made mandatory by the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, P.L. 115-44), which also increases sanctions on Russia and North Korea.
Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, nonbinding U.N. restrictions on Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and a binding ban on its importation or exportation of arms remain in place for several years. However, Iran has continued to support regional armed factions and to develop ballistic missiles despite the U.N. restrictions, and did so even when strict international economic sanctions were in place during 2010-2015.
JCPOA sanctions relief enabled Iran to increase its oil exports to nearly pre-sanctions levels, regain access to foreign exchange reserve funds and reintegrate into the international financial system, achieve about 7% yearly economic growth, attract foreign investments in key sectors, and buy new passenger aircraft. The sanctions relief contributed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s reelection in the May 19, 2017, vote. Yet, perceived economic grievances still sparked protests in December 2017-January 2018.
On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer participate in the JCPOA and that all U.S. secondary sanctions would be reimposed after a maximum “wind-down period” of 180 days (ending November 4, 2018). With that time period expired, all U.S. sanctions, including those on energy or banking transactions with Iran, are back into effect as of November 5, 2018.
The reimposition of U.S. sanctions has begun to harm Iran’s economy as major companies exit the Iranian economy rather than risk being penalized by the United States. Iran’s oil exports are decreasing and difficulties paying Iran for oil with hard currency are evident. The value of Iran’s currency has sharply declined and economic-based unrest has continued, although not to the point where the regime is threatened. But it remains uncertain how extensively Iran’s economy will be damaged, because the European Union and other countries are trying to keep the economic benefits of the JCPOA flowing to Iran in order to persuade Iran to remain in the JCPOA. And, on November 5, the Administration granted exceptions to eight countries that the Administration asserts significantly reduced oil imports from Iran. Exceptions were provided to China and India even though the two countries combined continued to import over 1 million barrels per day of Iranian crude oil in October, thwarting the Administration’s goal of reducing Iranian oil exports “as close to zero as possible.”
Senate Responds to Khashoggi Murder Briefing RT America
Published on Dec 5, 2018
Natasha Sweatte reports on the Senate’s response to a classified CIA briefing, where republican senators agreed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Natasha talks to CIA Whistle blower, John Kiriakou, about the meaning of this response and if he thinks there’s potential for diplomacy.
Senate heading for historic vote to pull US military aid to Saudi Arabia
2 hrs ago
The Senate could begin debating a measure as early as Monday that would override the Trump administration and force the withdrawal of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The effort is fueled in large part by a strong sense among lawmakers in both parties that the United States needs to rebuke Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
The Senate has never considered a measure to withdraw U.S. military forces from an overseas conflict, and the resolution would compel them to take such a vote. Many think the Senate will take it up.
The vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, but Senate lawmakers anticipate Monday’s agenda will include passage of a motion to proceed to the joint resolution.
“My guess is it’s got more than 51,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., referring to a majority vote in the Senate that would be needed to proceed to the measure. “My sense is the motion to proceed will be successful.”
The tri-partisan measure is sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and calls for ending U.S. military involvement in the war between a Saudi-led coalition and Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
Sanders, Lee, and Murphy believe the United States should not be aiding the Saudis in a war that has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
According to lawmakers, 10,000 civilians have been killed in the war and 40,000 have been wounded. The majority of the population is struggling to avoid starvation.
A large faction of Republican lawmakers is eager to avoid a vote on the War Powers Act because they believe it would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any United States ally. At the same time, they are determined to rebuke the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA determined is responsible for the October murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Corker, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and other lawmakers are working behind closed doors to come up with an alternative to the War Powers Resolution that would sanction the crown prince, although Corker would not provide the details of that plan.
Lawmakers will meet Thursday morning to discuss what they hope can serve as a substitute to the Lee-Sanders-Murphy resolution.
Graham is mulling a variety of alternatives, including one that would stop the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and suspend U.S. support in Yemen until the crown prince is punished or held accountable for Khashoggi’s death.
On Wednesday, Graham and others introduced a resolution that holds the crown prince responsible for Khashoggi's murder and calls for the United States and the international community to hold the Saudis and the crown prince responsible.
It's not clear now the resolution will impact the Lee-Sanders-Murphy measure.
Murphy said he won’t support any bill that leaves the U.S. in Yemen.
“I’m upset about Khashoggi,” Murphy said Wednesday as he walked into the Senate chamber for a vote. “But I’m more upset about the fact that this Congress has allowed thousands of kids to die inside Yemen. If this resolution doesn’t end U.S. participation in the war in Yemen then there are not 50 votes for the final product.”
Oops! US taxpayers paid for refueling of Saudi jets bombing Yemen due to 'accounting error' RT
Published on Dec 11, 2018
The Pentagon has acknowledged that millions of dollars in US taxpayers' money has been lost to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. That's despite recent polls suggesting that American's have a negative view on the military operation.
The US Defense Department put the huge loss down to accounting errors.
It came to light after the 'Atlantic' magazine obtained information from the Defense Department.
Her War: Women Vs. ISIS. Inside the training camp of an all-female Kurdish battalion. RT Documentary
Published on Jun 15, 2015
RTD correspondents received an exclusive permission to spend three weeks in a training camp of the YPJ, the female division of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units fighting ISIS. The town of Serekaniye in Syria is the last major town bordering the “Islamic State”. The mainly Kurdish local population is determined to fight the murderous ISIS and prevent them from entering their town. Among the fighters are young women, who chose to defend themselves and their families from the belligerent invaders.
The Latest: Senate OKs resolution blaming Saudi crown prince
30 mins ago
WASHINGTON — The Latest on the congressional response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):
The Senate has passed a resolution saying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Senators unanimously passed a resolution Thursday in a direct rebuke to the crown prince. It calls for the Saudi Arabian government to "ensure appropriate accountability."
It's unclear whether the House will consider the measure. Senators voted on it after President Donald Trump equivocated on who is to blame for Khashoggi's death and praised the kingdom. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that bin Salman must have at least known of the plot.
Passage of the resolution came after senators passed a separate measure calling for the end of U.S. aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Senators have voted to recommend that the U.S. stop supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen, directly challenging both Saudi Arabia and President Donald Trump in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's slaying.
The bipartisan vote Thursday comes two months after the Saudi journalist's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and after Trump has equivocated over who is to blame. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has repeatedly praised the kingdom.
Frustration with the crown prince and the White House prompted several Republicans to support the Yemen resolution, a rebuke to the longtime ally. Others already had concerns about the brutality of the Yemen war.
It's unlikely the House will consider the resolution.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have introduced a resolution rebuking Saudi Arabia for the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee).
The Senate could vote on the resolution as soon as Thursday, after considering a separate resolution that would recommend pulling U.S. aid from a Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The resolution states that the Senate "believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi" and calls for the Saudi Arabian government to "ensure appropriate accountability" for those responsible.
The resolution also calls the war in Yemen a "humanitarian crisis" and demands that all parties seek an immediate cease-fire.
It is unclear whether the House would vote on the resolution if it passes the Senate.
Senators are expected to vote on a resolution that would call on the U.S. to pull assistance from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a measure that would rebuke Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee).
The Senate may also consider a separate resolution condemning the journalist's killing as senators have wrestled with how to respond to the Saudi journalist's murder. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but President Donald Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.
Senators voted 60-39 on Wednesday to open debate on the Yemen resolution, signaling there's enough support to win the 50 votes needed. But it's unclear how amendments could affect a final vote expected to come Thursday.
The US Senate approved a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, dealing a stinging rebuke to President Trump amid heightened tensions over the death of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Senators voted 56-41 on the resolution, which would require the president to withdraw any troops in or “affecting” Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda; in doing so the Senate defied a veto threat from the White House which has vowed it would block the legislation.
However, beyond sending a symbolic message, the vote is largely moot as on Wednesday, as part of the Farm Bill passage, the House voted to block members from forcing a war powers vote this year. Still, the Senate vote Thursday underscored the depth of frustration with Saudi Arabia on Capitol Hill, as well as the escalating gap between the White House and Congress on the relationship between the U.S. and the kingdom.
Senators said passage sends a strong message to the Saudi crown prince because it targets his most important foreign policy priority. And just to make sure the Senate was heard loud and clear, the Senate also passed a measure which said that the Saudi Crown Prince was behind Khashoggi's death.
“I hope … we send a loud and powerful message by passing this resolution. That we’re going to bring peace to that country and that the United States Congress is going to reassert its constitutional authority to make the body that makes war not the president,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the sponsors of the resolution, told reporters.
“A strong denouncing of a crown prince and holding them responsible for the murder of a journalist. It’s a pretty strong statement for the United States Senate to be making, assuming we can get a vote on it,” Senator Bob Corker told reporters this week.
It’s a dramatic U-turn from less than nine months ago when the chamber pigeonholed the exact same resolution, refusing to vote it out of committee and onto full Senate. At the time, 10 Democrats joined 45 Republicans in opposing it.
The resolution's passage comes less than a day after Trump maintained that he would stand by the Saudi government and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence officials reportedly believe ordered Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October.
Trump told Reuters on Tuesday that Riyadh has been “a very good ally” and “at this moment” sticking with Saudi Arabia means standing by the crown prince.
The Trump administration had led a lobbying effort to try to squash the Senate resolution. In addition to a veto threat, they sent Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to brief senators and privately urge them to oppose the resolution.
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that he couldn’t support the resolution but “I know that Lee-Sanders has the votes.”
According to The Hill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged opposition to the measure hours ahead of the vote, while acknowledging members have "legitimate concerns" about Yemen and share "grave concerns" about Khashoggi's death. "[But] we also want to preserve the 70-year partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and we want to ensure it continues to serve American interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region," McConnell said.
The House is expected to get the same briefing on Thursday.