With U.S. investigative agencies certain that Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman arranged the brutal murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post reporter, the Senate voted to advance a bill pulling national support for Saudi Arabia’s war with neighboring Yemen.
One Colorado senator, however, is still willing to keep sending U.S. weapons to the Saudi Prince.
“This is a country in a critical part of the region that has played a key role in our work protecting Israel,” Gardner, who was one of the 37 Republicans who voted to keep supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, told reporters. “The right question is, how do we protect the innocent people of Saudi Arabia while going after the people responsible for this horrific, heinous murder?”
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey last October to get documents required for his upcoming marriage, but left in pieces, according to the CIA, when a Saudi kill team took his life and then dismembered him with a bone saw and other tools. His unsuspecting fiancé waited outside the consulate while the gruesome deed was underway. Federal sources conclude that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder.
The murder is complicated by the Saudi royal family’s military ties to the U.S., however. Saudi Arabia joined an international coalition to strike at the Houthi armed group in Yemen in 2015. Since that time, the conflict in Yemen has continued, with Shi’a Islam Houthis on one side and anti-Houthi forces — including Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government — on the other. According to Amnesty International, horrific human rights abuses and war crimes are regularly committed against women and children in the region.
“The situation in Yemen now is the worst humanitarian disaster in the world,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-Vermont), late last month. “Eighty-five thousand children have already starved to death and millions more are on the brink of starvation. All of which was caused by Saudi intervention in the civil war in Yemen.”
The U.S. has contributed high-impact arms and weaponry to the dispute during that time, but Sens. Sanders, Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), among others, have soured upon the nation since Khashoggi’s slaying. They now seek to pass a bill that would use the War Powers Act of 1973 to end U.S. involvement in the Yemeni conflict. The Senate voted 63-37 to advance that proposal for floor debate, but the Sen. Gardner questions pulling arms, even in the aftermath of Mohammed bin Salman’s barbaric murder.
Gardner argues that the bill supported by Sanders would have given the Houthis the strength to continue the conflict with impunity, had the U.S. not intervened.
“We know for a fact that the Houthis that are in Europe right now negotiating would have walked away from this negotiation had the U.S. empowered them by doing what Bernie Sanders wanted,” Gardner said.
Grit Post’s calls to Sen. Gardner, the Colorado Democratic Party, and Amnesty International were not returned as of this writing. This article will be updated in the event of a response.