The United States Senate on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reported. The journalist, who was recently named TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2018, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in October.
The resolution condemning Salman was introduced by Republican Senator Bob Corker and is one of many legislative efforts to target him and the Donald Trump administration’s policy towards Saudi Arabia. “Unanimously, the United States Senate has said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Corker. “That is a strong statement. I think it speaks to the values that we hold dear.”
“I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia,” Trump had said earlier.
The vote was largely symbolic as the House of Representatives would have to pass the resolution for it to become a law. Republican leaders there have blocked any legislation critical of Saudi Arabia.
But if the Corker resolution passes the House, Trump will be either forced to sign and criticise Salman for the murder or veto it and side with the Saudis.
In a historic move, the Senate also voted 56-41 to end the country’s military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war. Seven Republican Senators also joined the Democrats in providing support to the resolution.
It was the first time that either chamber of the Congress had backed a resolution to withdraw American forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act. Passed in 1973, the law caps the president’s ability to commit forces to potential hostilities without the approval of the Congress.
Critics of the war have questioned the US for aiding Saudi Arabia, which has been fighting the rebels since 2015. More than 10,000 people have been killled and more than 2 million have been displaced because of the war. In September, the United Nations described Yemen as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, with close to 75% of its population requiring some form of humanitarian assistance and protection.