Two weighty Republican lawmakers said they have “no doubt” that Mohammed bin Salman is involved in the death of Washington Post journalist, giving the reason for the CIA report on the subject
Two prominent senators of the ruling Republican party in the United States said on Tuesday they had “no doubt” that Saudi Arabia’s heir apparent was “complicit” in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi , contradicting the more neutral position of President Donald Trump.
Republicans Bob Corker , chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham , an ally of Trump in the upper house, noted that there is overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) in the brutal murder of Khashoggi in Turkey.
They told reporters after a closed-door meeting with the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Gina Haspel.
“I have no doubt that the crown prince directed the murder and kept abreast of the situation,” Corker said.
“If MBS were in front of a jury, it would be condemned in less than 30 minutes, ” he said of the monarch’s son, also called by his initials MBS.
Graham, who has urged Trump to take a much tougher stance against Riyadh over the murder , agreed: the crown prince is “an accomplice in the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi at the highest possible level.”
“There is not a smoking gun, but a smoking chainsaw ,” Graham added.
Khashoggi, collaborator of the Washington Post newspaper and a critic of the Saudi government, was assassinated and allegedly dismembered in an operation on October 2 at the consulate of his country in Istanbul. The case went around the world and generated the outrage of the international press and human rights organizations.
The Wall Street Journal , The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that the CIA has evidence that MBS exchanged 11 messages with its assistant Saud al Qahtani , who allegedly supervised the murder, just before and after the killing.
“It could well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event, maybe he had it and maybe not! ” Trump said in a statement on November 20, noting that US-Saudi relations and market stability oil company were too important to be shocked by this case.
Last week, faced with growing pressure from lawmakers across the political spectrum for the Trump government to take action against Riyadh, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon Chief Jim Mattis held a briefing session with all the senators behind closed doors, where they said there was no outstanding evidence linking MBS to the murder.
On Tuesday, Graham was emphatic about the opposite.
“You have to be willfully blind to not come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under MBS , and that he was intricately involved in the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi,” he said.
The Senate against Trump?
The debate in the US upper house was authorized last week, when, in a defiant executive position, he backed a resolution to debate military support for Riyadh in the war in Yemen, amid outrage over the murder of journalist Khashoggi .
The senators voted 63 against 37 in favor of the proposal, which gives the green light to the debate. This vote is not necessarily an indication of the final pronouncement of the legislators, but it does give an idea of the discomfort in the Senate and of the desire to send a message to the government to take a firmer stance with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia faces growing accusations of its alleged responsibility in the deaths of civilians during the bombings in Yemen , which have added to the wave of outrage over the death of Khashoggi.