Yemen conflict: U.S. defends backing for Saudi-led coalition

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said Thursday he was working with senators from both parties to try to cut a deal to formally rebuke Saudi Arabia over its role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the latest sign that Republicans want to go further than President Donald Trump in responding to the actions of a key U.S. ally. President Donald Trump has equivocated over who is to blame.

The de facto Saudi ruler stepped onto Argentine soil bidding to shrug off global outrage over the murder last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We have already seen 85,000 children starved to death, the United Nations tells us that millions of people are facing starvation, 10,000 new cholera cases are developing each week because there is no clean drinking water in the country", Sanders said following the briefing.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents certifying he had divorced his wife so he could remarry.

Senators are also scheduled to vote on the controversial nomination of Thomas Farr for a North Carolina judicial seat.

In a 63-37 vote on Wednesday, the Senate advanced debate on a bill that would revoke US support for the Saudi intervention.

Hundreds gathered on the streets of Tunis on Monday and Tuesday to vocally oppose the visit, raging against Mohammed bin Salman's apparent role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's destructive war in Yemen.

The Canadian government says it's committed to supporting human rights defenders, as well as promoting the freedom of the press globally. He's called for sanctions on the Saudi royal family, and was among those lawmakers critical of a statement from the Trump administration last week affirming the USA relationship with Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi's death.

Last week, the president released a statement casting doubt on a Central Intelligence Agency assessment that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's death and affirmed seemingly unshakable support for the Saudis.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not on the list of the 17 individuals sanctioned by Canada.

But if the administration's lobbying was created to mute criticism of the U.S. -Saudi relationship, it had the opposite effect, as senators from both parties expressed frustration that CIA Director Gina Haspel was not part of the administration's briefing team.

She also said that the prosecutor had asked Argentina's Foreign Ministry whether the crown prince's diplomatic status might allow a legal proceeding to go forward.

Senators voted by 63-to-37 to allow debate to proceed on the resolution, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urging them to continue U.S. military support. "We can not be deflected from using all our influence to end this war for the good of innocent people in trouble, and ultimately the safety of our own people, and this includes our military engagement".

"I'm glad that Pompeo and Mattis are coming, that's going to be helpful", said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"It is in our interests to end the civil war, to counter Iranian influence and stop Iranian-supplied Houthi rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle attacks on UAE and Saudi Arabia and their civilian populations", Mattis was quoted as saying.

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.

Freeland accompanied Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the summit, also attended by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo underscored that some people are using the Khashoggi murder with ulterior motives to undermine Trump's Saudi Arabia policy and support rapprochement with Iran. I needed to see what was said.

Pompeo called Khashoggi's murder "heinous" after the briefing, but his primary objective on Capitol Hill was to kill that War Powers Resolution.

  • Rogelio Becker