A bipartisan group of US senators in Congress have introduced a resolution that formally holds responsible Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as his role in Saudi atrocities committed during the war in Yemen.
The proposal, brought by six senators from both political parties on Wednesday, declares with a “a high level of confidence” that Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, also known as MbS, “was complicit” in the murder of Khashoggi.
Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on October 2.
Riyadh first dodged questions and provided contradicting accounts about his fate before admitting weeks later the US-based journalist was killed inside the complex.
While Turkish and American intelligence reports indicate that MbS was in on the murder, Trump has attempted to vindicate the prince on the grounds that punishing him would hurt US political and financial interests and in the region and above all, hurt Israel.
The measure comes despite President Donald Trump’s unwavering support for the crown prince.
“This resolution – without equivocation – definitively states that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and has been a wrecking ball to the region jeopardizing our national security interests on multiple fronts,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump.
Graham is one of the sponsors of the non-binding resolution. The remaining five senators include Republicans Marco Rubio and Todd Young, as well as Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Ed Markey, and Chris Coons.
The probe is needed to identify those “responsible for that awful killing,” the UN rights chief says.
Other lawmakers have also blasted Trump’s lack of willingness to punish Riyadh.
Earlier on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis of “misleading” the lawmakers about Khashoggi.
“I think the secretary of Defense and secretary of State are in a bad spot because the president has given this bear hug to MBS and to the entire Saudi regime, so they are bound to carry out his bizarre policy,” he told MSNBC.
Last week, Pompeo claimed there was no definitive evidence that MbS was behind Khashoggi’s murder, while Mattis simply said there was “no smoking gun.”
The resolution would also hold bin Salman responsible for the ongoing Saudi-led war on Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure since its onset.
The United States will continue backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“In March 2015, Saudi Arabia instituted a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen, and currently maintains strict limits on air and sea transit to the country which contribute to delays of critical humanitarian aid and commercial supplies to a nation that imports as much as 90 percent of its food and relies on imported fuel,” the resolution reads.
The US continues to provide Saudi Arabia with weapons and intelligence despite the atrocities in Yemen.