International Desk: In another symbolic rebuke of Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, the US Senate has unanimously adopted a new resolution to hold Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Proposed by US Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker on Thursday, the motion states that the US Senate "believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi".
Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top lawmaker in the Senate, said the motion sends a "clear and unambiguous message" of the senators' beliefs about who is responsible for the killing of the Saudi dissident.
Corker added that the Senate has unanimously said that it believes bin Salman is responsible for killing Khashoggi.
The measure is not only a sharp rebuke of bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, but also a public critique of US President Donald Trump's vow to stand by Saudi Arabia and MBS despite Khashoggi’s killing.
A Washington Post columnist who was critical of the kingdom's policies, Khashoggi was killed by Saudi government agents linked to the crown prince inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
The CIA concluded last month that MBS ordered the assassination, but Riyadh denies the crown prince was involved. The kingdom has arrested 21 people in connection to the murder and says prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five suspects.
Still, that has left many unconvinced, including Corker, who has been at the forefront of the congressional voices calling for greater accountability in the aftermath of the murder.
Corker's Senate motion blames MBS for Khashoggi's murder, urges the Saudi government to ensure "appropriate accountability" for all those responsible, calls on Riyadh to release Saudi women's rights activists and encourages the kingdom to increase efforts to enact economic and social reforms.
The resolution also calls for a political solution to the conflict in Yemen, which has been plunged into a dire humanitarian crisis as a result of Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthi rebels there.
It also warns that the kingdom's purchases of military equipment from, and cooperation with, the governments of Russia and China, challenge the integrity of the US-Saudi military relationship.
risingbd/Dec 14, 2018/Mukul