US Senate Advances Resolution to End Support for Yemen War

The Latest: Pompeo to defend role in Yemen before senators

Leading Democratic senators said the intelligence they had seen convinced them of the Crown Prince's role in the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and United States resident.

The legislation's early successes have been interpreted as a kick in the teeth to US President Donald Trump's unapologetic support for Riyadh, but some have questioned the timing of the proposal - and whether it will have any long-term effect on Washington's deep-rooted ties to the Kingdom.

"Our security interests can not be dismissed, even as we seek accountability for what President Trump described as the "unacceptable and terrible crime" of Jamal Khashoggi's murder", he said.

"About the briefing: I'm glad we had it, I admire both secretaries, but it was inadequate because the Central Intelligence Agency was not there", Graham told reporters afterward.

"Some of the close allies with whom we have been co-ordinating our work following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are here as well", she said.

Prodded for more specificity on what seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment threat, the senator answered, "I'm talking about any key vote".

By a bipartisan 63-37, the Senate voted to move forward with legislation calling for an end to USA involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Although the US imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who were allegedly involved in Khashoggi's murder, Trump has been hesitant to take further steps, noting that Washington's intent to remain a close ally of Riyadh.

According to reports, USA intelligence officials have concluded that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.

"Anything you need me for, to get out of town, I ain't doing it", Graham threatened.

The New York Times says a suspect in the disappearance, identified by Turkey, was in Prince Mohammed's inner circle.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a joint session of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in the capital Riyadh, Oct. 24, 2018.

That message fell on increasingly deaf ears as senators of both parties blasted the exclusion of CIA Director Gina Haspel from the closed-door encounter.

In a Wednesday opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Pompeo characterised the reaction to Khashoggi's slaying as "Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on". President Trump said he would meet with him, but there was nothing on the schedule.

"If we do, we have only ourselves to blame for our country's lost credibility on the world stage and more importantly our own consciences will bear the blame for the thousand of lives that will surely continue to be lost".

On "The Daily Briefing" Wednesday, Sen.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states have been battling in Yemen since 2015 to restore a government driven out by the Houthis - Shi'ite Muslim fighters that Yemen's neighbours view as agents of Iran.

According to prepared remarks issued ahead of the briefing, Mr Pompeo said: "The suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse".

Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels, allied with troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. "They said they are going to brief me, and I said appreciate it". But lawmakers have exhausted of such strategic arguments, arguing that Trump should prioritice the defence of American human rights ideals - such as condemning the killing of a journalist - over the expedient of looking the other way.

And Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is often strongly allied with Trump, voted to move forward with the resolution and said he would insist on a briefing from Haspel.

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