"Crazy, Wrecking Ball": US Senators Blast Saudi Prince Over Khashoggi

Cheryl Sanders
December 6, 2018

Last week, the Senate voted by a wide margin to take up debate on a resolution to end controversial United States support for the war in Yemen being waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies since 2015 and to extend Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against suspected conspirators in the Khashoggi murder to the crown prince as well.

Members of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations did not mince words after the briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday.

According to Republican senators Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, of all people, the evidence tying the Saudi Crown Prince to the journalist's killing is undeniable.

Commenting on the senators' resolution, Nabeel Khoury, a former U.S. diplomat and deputy chief of mission in Yemen, said the Senate is starting to see MBS as a destabilising influence.

That was referring to the culpability of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Officials in the Istanbul prosecutor's office confirmed to ABC News that the wanted men, royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, are accused of planning and overseeing the killing of Khashoggi, which took place in the Saudi Arabian consulate building in Istanbul on October 2.

The first vote would be on a motion to proceed to the joint resolution that seeks to stop US support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

Thus, every time the White House tries to put the matter to rest, it only appears to inflame the issue, which is also fueling support for a push to end US involvement in the war in Yemen. "There is no way we're gonna continue to do business with Saudi Arabia as if this never happened".

USA intelligence community assessments and experts said it's unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge. After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Tuesday's briefing came a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis had told senators that there was no hard evidence MBS was behind the killing and urged senators not to downgrade ties with Saudi Arabia over the incident.

He also said: "There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw".

A 15-man Saudi team was sent to Turkey to kill the Washington Post columnist, Middle East Eye previously reported, and his murder took seven minutes.

The U.S. has slapped sanctions on Saudis involved in the murder.

"She didn't tell them anything that (Mattis and Pompeo didn't say)", the Texas Republican said, "so any senator who wants the information has had access to it".

Senators who weren't invited to Tuesday's briefing, including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Chris Murphy of CT and Tim Kaine of Virginia, where Khashoggi lived, said more senators should also get the same briefing. Graham voted in favor of the resolution.

According to U.S. media reports, the Central Intelligence Agency has evidence the Saudi prince exchanged 11 messages with Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the hit, before and after it was carried out.

Other reports by iNewsToday