Saudis, UAE Block UN Call for Yemen Ceasefire

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pauses during a news conference at the State Department in Washington U.S

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.

The CIA concluded last week that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's death, according to The Washington Post.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, who has listened to an audio tape of the killing and reviewed evidence assembled by Turkish authorities, did not participate in the briefing despite senators demands to hear directly from her.

The block on USA military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen was an "unprecedented setback for the Saudis and the Trump administration", Bruce Riedel, of the Brookings Institution, said.

Freeland accompanied Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the summit, also attended by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent letters to 23 USA lobbying firms requesting information on the scope of their lobbying services for the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any Saudi government-affiliated entity", Warren's office said in a press release.

Prince Mohammed and the kingdom's ties to Western nations, even those like the United States that have opted for maintaining close ties in the face of mounting criticism in their national legislatures, hang in the balance despite having survived the storm so far.




"Two leaders have agreed that we will now set up a mechanism at the leadership level which will go into the possibilities of concrete actions in terms of investment, in terms of technology, in terms of manufacturing across various sectors from energy to food security and to infrastructure to defence", he said.

The U.S. -backed, Saudi-led military intervention was under way, and parts of Yemen were under siege by the Houthi rebels when Safa Al Ahmad traveled back to the country in 2016 to see the human toll of the war. Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of DE and Jack Reed of Rhode Island also said they were changing their votes, and Sen.

"I don't think there's anybody in the room that doesn't believe he was responsible for it", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

The president has taken heat over his position that the US will remain allies with Saudi Arabia after the killing.

"It's another blank check endorsement of Saudi war aims", Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council official, and Al-Monitor columnist, told Al-Monitor.

Salman's level of influence is perhaps not what it was after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, though apparently it was still enough to convince several nations, including the USA, to block the ceasefire resolution and demanding it be held off for at least a month.

A federal court source says a prosecutor has asked a judge to determine if Saudi Arabia or Yemen are investigating the prince for possible crimes against humanity. He said the CIA had already briefed the Senate intelligence committee and Senate leaders and "will continue to provide updates on this important matter to policymakers and Congress". Saudi Arabia is crucial for that process.

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