Measure ending US support for Yemen war clears Senate hurdle

PM Modi

PM Modi

The resolution - originally introduced by Sens.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 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. "The bottom line is the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a unsafe and irresponsible military policy".

The organizations stated that the effect of USA humanitarian contributions to aid agencies in Yemen "pale in comparison to the harm caused by U.S. military support and diplomatic cover to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates".

The bill, which would end US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, passed by a vote of 63-to-37 on Wednesday. In public remarks, Mattis warned that withdrawing USA support would jeopardize peace talks that are expected to begin next month in Sweden.

"Some of the close allies with whom we have been co-ordinating our work following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are here as well", she said.

"I imagine MBS will be greeted warmly by the authoritarian leaders in Buenos Aires and by Trump", Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, told The Guardian.

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In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Pompeo said the Crown Prince has moved the country in a reformist direction.

Pompeo spoke to reporters after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate behind closed doors that weakening US-Saudi ties over the killing would hurt national security.

Pompeo and Mattis visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to lobby against the resolution.

President Donald Trump, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia who has touted the country's lucrative purchase of arms from the USA and whose personal financial connections to the nation are under scrutiny, has threatened to veto the bill if it arrives on his desk.

Senators after the briefing said they were upset the Trump administration did not allow the Central Intelligence Agency director to brief them on the murder of a Saudi journalist and indicated they would continue to raise the issue, including through legislative means. But the willingness to formally admonish Saudi Arabia grew after Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and the Trump administration took what many have seen as only modest steps to pursue accountability.

Haspel or a senior intelligence community official "could have responded to a number of questions that I am sure came up in the meeting", Otis, a former CIA branch chief specializing in Europe and the Middle East, told Al-Monitor. He said 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". Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, tells Roll Call he doesn't necessarily endorse the resolution as is but wants the "ability to have a debate as it relates to our relationship with Saudi Arabia".

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He has in the past defended the U.S. -Saudi relationship in crucial votes, but upon leaving the briefing, he told reporters he would vote to advance the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution. "And that's all I can say in an unclassified setting", he said. He noted that the measure may yet be amended to find some middle ground.

The sanctions, which freezes their assets and bars their travel to Canada, "target individuals who are, in the opinion of the government of Canada, responsible for or complicit in the extrajudicial killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 2018", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

"We are working on an amendment that would strike what's on the floor and more fully express ourselves as to what our policy should be towards Saudi Arabia", Corker said. In March, the proposal failed 55-44.

"The CIA called and that's good", Graham said.

"Gina Haspel, if all the reports were true, would have said with a high degree of confidence that, in fact, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a United States permanent resident and a journalist".

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