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U.S. Congress Seeks Path Forward on Saudi Rebuke

by AFP

Nicholas Kamm—AFP

Senior U.S. lawmakers to consider measures on Yemen war, Jamal Khashoggi killing next week

Congress will consider measures next week to reprimand the Saudi crown prince, punish those involved in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and curtail U.S. support for the Yemen war, senior American lawmakers said on Thursday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she expects a briefing on Yemen and Saudi Arabia by national security officials to the entire House, as senators received last month, followed by an intelligence briefing specifically on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His alleged role in ordering the murder of Khashoggi, a palace critic, is at the heart of a burning controversy in Washington and internationally, with key Republican senators saying after a closed-door briefing by CIA director Gina Haspel that they firmly believe he was complicit in the killing.

“I’m hoping that we will have the director of the CIA as well as the other leaders of the intelligence community,” Pelosi said of upcoming briefings for House members.

Pelosi, who will likely be House speaker when the Democratic-majority Congress opens in January, said there is bipartisan support for a measure seeking to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition conducting a brutal war in Yemen. The United Nations has called the conflict the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis. “Let’s see after the briefing where we go,” Pelosi said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, who has been fiercely critical of the crown prince, said “everybody” in the upper chamber is alarmed about the behavior of Saudi leadership and about Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. “People have concerns just about the crown prince himself being out of control,” he said. “People have concerns about Yemen, and the huge humanitarian crisis.”

Senators are taking multiple paths of action, including a resolution seeking to curtail U.S. war powers in Yemen that cleared a significant first hurdle last week and is sure to get a subsequent vote.

Democratic and Republican senators have also introduced a resolution that would hold the crown prince accountable for contributing to the Yemen crisis, preventing an end to a blockade of Qatar, the torture of dissidents and “the abhorrent and unjustified murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

Corker said negotiations were underway on a catch-all measure addressing Yemen, the crown prince, sanctions against those involved in Khashoggi’s death, and suspension of U.S. arms sales to Riyadh. “I’d like to do something that actually has teeth,” said Corker, who is retiring from the Senate this year.

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