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Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis in Yemen

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Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis in Yemen

By Patricia Zengerle

 

2018-12-12T221827Z_2_LYNXMPEEBB1R1_RTROPTP_4_SAUDI-KHASHOGGI-POMPEO.JPG

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speak as they attend a session during the meeting of NATO foreign ministers at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a rare break with President Donald Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to move ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen and lawmakers vowed to push for sanctions against the kingdom in the new year.

 

Eleven of Trump's fellow Republicans joined Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed to advance the war powers resolution in the Republican-led chamber. The vote paved the way for debate and a vote on U.S. involvement in a conflict that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, many of them young children and left millions more at risk of starvation and death by disease.

 

The nearly unprecedented break the 11 Republicans made from Trump was largely symbolic because the House of Representatives is not expected to take the matter up this year. Trump has threatened a veto.

 

But backers of the resolution said it sent an important message that lawmakers are unhappy with the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and angry about the lack of a strong U.S. response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers also vowed to keep pushing after the new Congress take office in January for further tough action against Saudi Arabia, including legislation to impose human rights sanctions and opposition to weapons sales.

 

"If you want to buy our weapons, there are certain things you have to accept. How you use them matters," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told a news conference.

 

"The individual, the crown prince, is so toxic, so tainted, so flawed, that I can't ever see myself doing business with Saudi Arabia unless there's a change there," said Graham, generally a close Trump ally in the Senate.

 

Republicans will hold a slightly larger majority in the new Senate, but Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives, increasing the chances of sanctions legislation passing.

 

The Trump administration had urged Congress not to oppose U.S. fuelling, targeting help and other support for the Saudi-led coalition as it battles the Houthis, Shi'ite Muslim fighters viewed by Yemen's neighbours as agents of Iran.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the administration's handling of Khashoggi's killing.

 

Pompeo repeated his assertion there was no direct evidence linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Oct. 2 killing of Khashoggi in Istanbul, despite a CIA assessment it was likely he ordered the killing.

 

Riyadh initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, then offered contradictory explanations, including that he was killed in a rogue operation.

 

TRUMP STANDS BY CROWN PRINCE

Trump condemned the murder but has stood by the Saudi crown prince. "He's the leader of Saudi Arabia. They've been a very good ally," Trump told Reuters on Tuesday in an Oval Office interview.

 

Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel briefed leaders of the House of Representatives behind closed doors about the killing. After the classified meeting, House members said they had not heard anything to change their minds about Khashoggi's death.

 

Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, likely the next chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee when Democrats take control of the House in January, said he intended to hold hearings starting early next year on all aspects of Saudi behaviour and the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

 

"Saudi Arabia's an important ... partner, but I don't think we can simply look the other way when things happen and talk about business as usual," Engel said.

 

Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who held a separate briefing for the entire Senate, are due to discuss Saudi Arabia with the entire House on Thursday.

 

But several lawmakers have urged that Congress keep the Yemen conflict separate from anger over the killing of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist.

 

They view Saudi Arabia as an essential counterweight in the Middle East to Iran, arch-enemy of close U.S. ally Israel. White House officials see Saudi support as a linchpin for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan yet to be unveiled by the Trump administration.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday in Jerusalem that Saudi Arabia's role in the Middle East must be taken into account in responding to Khashoggi's "horrific" fate.

 

"If Saudi Arabia were to be destabilized, the world would be destabilized," Netanyahu told foreign reporters, speaking in English.

 

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Peter Cooney and Lisa Shumaker)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-12-13

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Yes... well... this is a lovely long article that seems to say;

 

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a rare break with President Donald Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to move ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen and lawmakers vowed to push for sanctions against the kingdom in the new year.

 

but in reality, it really says;

 

10 hours ago, webfact said:

The nearly unprecedented break the 11 Republicans made from Trump was largely symbolic because the House of Representatives is not expected to take the matter up this year. Trump has threatened a veto.

So.... yes yes, it’s all very nice, but check out my middle finger, y’all.

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The congress and house should be 100% in dumping support for the Saudi war but sadly only 11 republicans in a purely simbolic way made a weak statement common guys and gals stand up to Donald when he is wrong 

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9 hours ago, Pedrogaz said:

Well done, go ahead and impose sanctions. Finally some are waking up in the US government. We expect this of democrats and kudos to them, but a special kudos to the 11 republicans who have restored my faith in human nature, somewhat at least.

No, a presidential veto will nullify any actions by the senate and the house.

As much as most people were appalled by the murder, it had little to do with the war in Yemen.

For once I agree with the republicans. The war and the murder are totally separate issues.

The war has been abysmal, with more Saudi and Houti "targets", being the civilians rather than strategic options.

There was always the option of separating the civilians from the war effort or making an area of safe haven for them.

And there was always the option of striking directly at the Iranians who have been allowed to import arms and fighters into Yemen, but not food relief for non combatants.

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Meaningless way for some Senators to publicly distance themselves from the Saudis. Meanwhile it is business as usual. Trump has already put himself into the boogey man role by sticking with the Saudis. Trump doesn't let that sort of thing bother him.

 

Evidently the Saudis are pissed off that Trump played them like fools over the Iran sanctions. Let's see what happens when they target America for reduced exports. I am sure if conditions are right somebody could probably persuade Trump that MBS is responsible and then we can go to sanctions. 

 

The Saudis are trapped.

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54 minutes ago, Prissana Pescud said:

No, a presidential veto will nullify any actions by the senate and the house.

 

ummmm.......

 

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But backers of the resolution said it sent an important message that lawmakers are unhappy with the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and angry about the lack of a strong U.S. response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

 

The very, very least of Trump's concerns is the humanitarian disaster going on in Yemen or the slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi.

In Trump's world, it's more like "show me the money".

Nice to see though that Lindsey Graham has finally stood up to Trump. His nose is a little less brown today.

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20 minutes ago, neeray said:

But backers of the resolution said it sent an important message that lawmakers are unhappy with the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and angry about the lack of a strong U.S. response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

 

The very, very least of Trump's concerns is the humanitarian disaster going on in Yemen or the slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi.

In Trump's world, it's more like "show me the money".

Nice to see though that Lindsey Graham has finally stood up to Trump. His nose is a little less brown today.

 

It's a "show me the money" kind of world. Did Germany stop buying Russian energy over the poisonings? You think the Chinese care? Putin high fived the MBS at the summit. I would like to see the list of countries in the G20 that refuse to use Saudi oil in its entirety. 

 

 

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21 hours ago, webfact said:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday in Jerusalem that Saudi Arabia's role in the Middle East must be taken into account in responding to Khashoggi's "horrific" fate.

Isn't there an irony to see Netanyahu supporting the main stronghold of the Salafi Sunni version of Islam that inspired most terrorists who killed all those people in the USA or In Europe?

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1 hour ago, Cryingdick said:

 

It's a "show me the money" kind of world. Did Germany stop buying Russian energy over the poisonings? You think the Chinese care? Putin high fived the MBS at the summit. I would like to see the list of countries in the G20 that refuse to use Saudi oil in its entirety. 

 

 

You're confusing buying and selling.

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The fact is, Trump is getting weaker by the day. The cascade of scrutiny, accusations, indictments, and prison sentences for those close to him, is weakening his position, eroding his power, and emboldening senators, and other Republicans to step out on their own, follow their conscience, and do what they think is right, instead of following a fool into the abyss. This is a good thing for America, and the world. 

 

Trump has once again, supported terror over humanity, with regard to Yemen, MBS, the Saudis and his horrific foreign policy, or lack thereof, continues to haunt him. 

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