US Aims to Weaken Mohammed bin Salman, Not Depose Him - Scholar

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied complicity in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Credit
AFP

Last week, the Senate voted by a wide margin to take up debate on a resolution to end controversial U.S. 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.

But two key senators from Trump's own Republican party said Tuesday that a briefing by the CIA's director had strengthened their conviction that Prince Mohammed directed the murder.

The measure comes despite President Donald Trump's unwavering support for the crown prince.

After the meeting, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters that MBS is "complicit" in the murder. Numerous lawmakers to meet with Haspel already seemingly made up their minds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered Khashoggi's murder.

Bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the plot to torture, murder and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October and the USA has waffled on whether it believes his denials.

After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

"I think the reason they don't draw the conclusion that he's complicit, is because the administration doesn't want to go down that road, not because there's not evidence to suggest he's complicit", he said. "There are all sorts of things we can do to make clear this can't continue to happen".

The prime minister explained at the time that he had a "frank" conversation with the prince on the killing, Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen and jailed activists.

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"The global community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia's commitment to prosecute this heinous crime", the official said, adding that by extraditing all suspects to Turkey, "Saudi authorities could address those concerns".

The Tennessee Republican said that with the schedule changes necessitated by the funeral of President George H.W. Bush, floor debate would most likely come up on Monday, Dec. 10.

"There's not a smoking gun". They did so against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said USA involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

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.

Saudi Arabia has detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) resolution to end USA military support for the Saudi kingdom's assault on Yemen.

"If John McCain were alive I believe he would be standing with me today, leading the charge to come down like a ton of bricks on the crown prince for what he's done to the relationship, the way he's destabilized the region", he told reporters on Tuesday.

"The prosecution's move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and Qahtani reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won't take formal action against those individuals", one unnamed Turkish official told Reuters.

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