US Senate delivers bipartisan rebuke to Trump's Saudi policy

ALEX EDELMAN  UPI  Newscom

Pompeo was due to speak to the Senate alongside Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to discuss U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition that is fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels, ahead of a possible vote on reducing military backing to the Saudis.

Yemen, already the region's poorest nation before the outbreak of war, was in a full-blown humanitarian crisis. We've been involved. Our military, the best in the world has been involved in helping the Saudis with this invasion of Yemen.

What did Mike Pompeo say?

"Investment opportunities in the field of infrastructure were discussed through (Saudi Arabia's) Public Investment Fund, as well as investment opportunities in the agricultural field in order to replace agricultural imports from other countries to the Kingdom", it said.

Human rights organizations have been pushing for an worldwide investigation to seek justice in the Khashoggi murder, and also want to see greater action to address grave treatment of women's rights activists and human rights activists in Saudi prisons as well as war crimes in Yemen.

The position of many senators changed after the president dismissed the intelligence community's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman likely ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I have always been clear with Saudi Arabia".

A number came out saying the arguments they had heard had not been convincing. Growing interest in showing the Saudis that, Khashoggi or no, the USA still supports them, has meant that Yemen is once again a low priority.

"It's outrageous that the Senate can be stonewalled from hearing from the Central Intelligence Agency director", Menendez said. His language was blunt in a Wall Street Journal article published Tuesday, writing that Khashoggi's murder "has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on".

Pompeo: No Direct Link Between Crown Prince, Khashoggi Death

In a rare closed briefing addressing the whole Senate, the two cabinet members were expected to make the case against rocking the boat in Yemen and vis a vis Saudi Arabia, and did so in prepared remarks ahead of their behind-closed-doors remarks.

"We also have a crown prince who is out of control, a blockade in Qatar, the arrest of a prime minister in Lebanon, the killing of a journalist... and whether there's a smoking gun", Corker said, "I don't think there's anybody in the room who doesn't believe he was responsible for it".

"We have a problem here".

The group meets annually to discuss how to enhance global economic stability.

What have the Yemeni sides recently agreed?

Echoing similar comments from US President Donald Trump, they said downgrading Washington's ties with Riyadh would harm US national security.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has said he hopes peace talks convene before the end of the year.

A previous round in Geneva collapsed in September when the Houthis failed to show up.

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