Saudi Arabia has been a major source of division within Washington since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The White House has been at complete odds with Congress over America’s relation with the kingdom triggering strong displays of disgruntlement.
In the latest show of discontent, Republican Senator John Barrasso blasted Riyadh for being in “complete violation” of US values. His strong attack of the royals in Saudi was made during an interview with CNN, where the senator from Wyoming urged the US to “reevaluate” its relationship with the kingdom.
“We need to re-evaluate our long-term relationship with Saudi Arabia,” said Barrasso as senators introduced a bill aimed at creating accountability in the US-Saudi relationship. “They are in compete violation… of our American values,” he continued.
Barrasso revealed that he would be co-sponsoring a bill introduced on Wednesday by his Republican colleague Jim Risch who is the chairman of the Foreign Relations panel in order to force the Trump administration to undergo a “comprehensive review” of US-Saudi relationship.
The bill is part of a wider call for scrutiny over America’s relationship with Saudi, which has increasingly come under the spotlight following the killing of Khashoggi and the conduct of Riyadh in the Yemen civil war. Both the US intelligence and a recent UN report place the responsibility for the murder of the Washington Post journalist at the feet of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman. The de-facto ruler of the kingdom has also drawn the ire of US lawmakers who are deeply concerned that US arms are being used to commit war crimes in the Yemen civil war.
Trump has overlooked these concerns and embraced the Crown Prince known also as MBS even closer prompting an ongoing tug of war with Congress. In June Republican and Democratic senators introduced 22 separate joint resolutions seeking to block Trump’s plan to sidestep congressional review and complete more than $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The reaction was provoked by Trump’s defiance of Congress by declaring an emergency to continue arms sale.
In the ongoing saga between the White House and Congress the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Republican Chairman, Senator Jim Risch, introduced legislation on Wednesday punishing Saudi Arabia over human rights abuses and criticising MBS, but not halting weapons sales.