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US senators slam MbS over Yemen war and Khashoggi murder

US senators say Mohammed bin Salman is complicit in Khashoggi's murder in October [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 December, 2018

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A bipartisan group of US senators have introduced a measure that says Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is “complicit” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A bipartisan group of US senators have introduced a measure that says Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is “complicit” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The resolution is largely symbolic, but it registers the Senate’s unrest with the killing and the Trump administration’s response.

It’s among several measures being considered after a closed CIA briefing on Capitol Hill that convinced top US lawmakers of the crown prince's role in the murder.

Introduced by a top ally of President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the resolution says the Senate “has a high level of confidence” that the crown prince “was complicit in the murder.”

"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 jeopardising our national security interests on multiple fronts," Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator and close ally of President Donald Trump, said in a statement.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey after arriving for routine paperwork. The US resident was critical of the Saudi regime.

The strongly-worded resolution also held MBS accountable for atrocities committed during the war in Yemen and called on Saudi Arabia to end a blockade imposed by itself and three other Arab states on Qatar in June last year.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE - along with Egypt - launched a surprise blockade on Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of moving closer to Iran and supporting extremist groups in the region.

Doha denies the charges, and has said the Saudi-led blockade was aimed at making Qatar a vassal state.

The bipartisan group of senators also wants the release of blogger Raif Badawi, women's rights activists and other political prisoners detained in Saudi Arabia.

The bipartisan group of senators also wants the release of blogger Raif Badawi, women's rights activists and other political prisoners that include moderate clerics detained in Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, the UN human rights chief says an international investigation is needed into the “awful” killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Michelle Bachelet made the comments at a news conference Wednesday timed for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, alluding to similar calls from outside experts linked to the UN human rights office.

“We also call for international investigation,” she said. “We mentioned to the (UN) secretary-general that we thought it was needed, a criminal investigation — international investigation.”

She said her office doesn’t have the mandate to conduct a criminal investigation, however.

“I do believe that it’s really needed in terms of ensuring what really happened and who are the responsible for that awful killing.”

Khashoggi, a US resident, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. 

After initially denying the murder, Saudi Arabia has acknowledged Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate but blamed his death on a "rogue" operation.

Top officials from the administration of President Donald Trump have said they've seen no direct evidence linking the murder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but the CIA reportedly has found a connection.

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