Saudi Hit With Rare Rebuke At UN Rights Body Over Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Hit With Rare Rebuke At UN Rights Body Over Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Hit With Rare Rebuke At UN Rights Body Over Jamal Khashoggi

"He's gone full gangster", said Republican Sen.

Labelling Salman "a wrecking ball", Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of SC said that the suspicions against the crown prince had gotten stronger.

Senators at Abizaid's confirmation hearing including Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats condemned the kingdom's conduct in the civil war in Yemen, heavy-handed diplomacy and rights abuses.

Graham went on to say that the murder had caused a breach in the US-Saudi relationship and even though the two nations have always maintained good equation, it doesn't mean that US will stand by everything Riyadh does.

"He is reckless, he's ruthless, he has a penchant for escalation, for taking high risks, confrontational in his foreign policy approach and I think increasingly willing to test the limits of what he can get away with the United States", Rubio added.

Outside the kingdom, lawmakers noted, the Crown Prince is driving a devastating war with Yemen; has curtailed diplomatic relations and investment with Canada after objecting to tweets about human rights abuses; very likely ordered the premeditated murder of USA resident Jamal Khashoggi; kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon; and triggered a spat between Gulf allies that undermines U.S. attempts to create a united Arab front against Iran. "It is in our interests to make sure that the relationship is sound". Speaking of the resolution that the Senate and House of Representatives have passed that would end United States support for the Saudi-led coalition, Trump's nominee said that the administration believes that the United States support must continue.

Retired four-star Army General John Abizaid testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing to be U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019.

The Saudi citizen, who contributed to The Washington Post and had fled the kingdom in 2017, was murdered and cut into pieces with a bonesaw shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Tueller has also defended USA support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which launched its offensive in 2015 to root out the country's Houthi rebels and restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power. But Abizaid said the Trump administration believes strongly that US support should continue.

"Doing so bolsters the self-defence capabilities of our partners and reduces the risk of harm to civilians", Abizaid said.

It was also the confirmation hearing for Matthew Tueller, the current US ambassador to Yemen and Trump's nominee to be ambassador to Iraq. The conflict, which has claimed thousands of civilian lives, caused a massive cholera outbreak and brought millions of people to the brink of starvation is apparently not enough of a human rights violation. After weeks of denials and obfuscations, Saudi Arabia admitted to Khashoggi's murder and announced the arrest of 18 people and the firing of senior officials.

Under the government that is effectively headed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi authorities have intensified a coordinated crackdown on dissidents, human rights activists, and independent clerics.

"We call upon Saudi Arabia to disclose all information available and to fully cooperate with all investigations into the killing, including the human rights inquiry by the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions".

Still, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded with high confidence that the crown prince is responsible for the journalist's killing.

"It requires forceful discussions on the behalf of the United States with the government of Saudi Arabia and I am prepared to have those discussions if you confirm me", Abizaid said.

Senator Bob Menendez, the committee's ranking Democrat, acknowledged the strategic importance of Saudi ties, amid threats from Iran.

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