Republican Senator Lindsey Graham recently said in an interview that if the CIA confirms that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, then he will have to push the United States government to punish Saudi Arabia.
In a phone interview with Axios, the South Carolina senator talked about the possibility of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) alleged complicity in the murder and said that it is crucial for the U.S. to “back up the intel community if we think they’re right.”
He said that “everything would be on the table” for punishment and added that President Donald Trump’s acclaimed arms deal with the kingdom will also have to be ended if the murder is proven.
“[The United States] cannot have a normal strategic relationship with somebody this crazy.”
Sen. Graham, along with his Democratic counterpart Sen. Bob Menendez, are already in the process of imposing sanctions against the Kingdom for the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist, the Axios report said. Graham also said that he will be observing how MBS behaved in a number of instances.
“What I would also do in my resolution is also look at other behavior of MBS that has been very erratic and disruptive: the handling of the Yemen war, the bizarre episode with the prime minister from Lebanon, and the embargo of Qatar without any consultation,” he told Axios.
Graham’s statement came amid President Donald Trump’s announcement last week which said that he would “stand with Saudi Arabia” even if MBS “could very well” have had knowledge of Khashoggi’s killing. According to Trump, Saudi Arabia’s trade and support against Iran is too important for the United States to compromise, The Guardian reported.
If the CIA confirms to him they believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Sen. Lindsey Graham tells Axios he will push to have him sanctioned. https://t.co/ek0HkeJysG
— Axios (@axios) November 26, 2018
The president, however, acknowledged that MBS might be involved in the murder but said that it is difficult to prove it.
“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Trump’s statement said, adding that those members of the Congress who would like to differ on the decision are free to do so.
“I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, Trump said, “but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.
“As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!”
As against the United States, three European Union nations including Finland, Denmark, and Germany have halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Per a report by USA Today, Germany and Denmark cited the killing of Khashoggi as the reason to halt the deal while Finland said in a statement that the main reason for its decision was “related to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”