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US Congress Wants to Cut Off Aid to Saudis Over Khashoggi, Yemen War - Reports

© AP Photo / Hani MohammedIn this Aug. 13, 2018, file photo, Yemeni people attend the funeral of victims of a Saudi-led airstrike, in Saada, Yemen
In this Aug. 13, 2018, file photo, Yemeni people attend the funeral of victims of a Saudi-led airstrike, in Saada, Yemen - Sputnik International
Earlier, Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the recently released audio recording allegedly depicting the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in no way implicated the top leadership in Riyadh in the crime.

The Senate is working on legislation to cut off all US assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen, and in reaction to Riyadh's response to the killing of a dissident journalist, Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker has said.

According to the senator, the resolution targeting the Saudis could be voted on before the end of the year.

"Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened, with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone," Corker said, speaking to Reuters on Tuesday.

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Commenting on the $110 billion in weapons contracts between Washington and Riyadh prior to the Khashoggi scandal, the senator said that this was something outside the Senate's jurisdiction. "It would be very hard, if a weapons sale came up, to keep it from being undone, at least in the Senate," Corker said.

The senator also informed Reuters that his staff had urged the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA to brief Congress regarding concerns over Riyadh's pursuit of the war in Yemen and the Khashoggi case. The classified briefing may be held as soon as later this month, Corker explained.

Corker and other key Foreign Relations Committee senators penned a strongly-worded letter to President Trump last month, urging him to consider imposing sanctions "with respect to any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi" if and when appropriate evidence was found.

An activist, wearing a mask depicting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, holds up his hands, painted with fake blood as he protests the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a candlelight vigil outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 - Sputnik International
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In the wake of Jamal Khashoggi's October 2 disappearance, and later suspicions that he was killed by a Saudi hit squad, President Trump repeatedly implied that he would not be willing to jeopardize US arms deal with the Kingdom, even as several of Washington's NATO allies implied that they would be doing so.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration would end its air refueling support for Saudi-led coalition warplanes operating in Yemen after President Trump called an August 9 airstrike which hit civilians a "horror show" and accused the coalition of not knowing how to properly use US weapons. 

Yemen descended into civil war in late 2014, when the Shiite Houthi militia overthrew the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of mostly Persian Gulf states began operations to try to restore the Hadi government in March 2015. The Saudi-led coalition's conduct in the war, including the blockade of Houthi-controlled ports, has been condemned by the United Nations for causing a humanitarian disaster. According to UN figures, over 14 million Yemenis face pre-famine conditions. Late last year, the UK-based Save the Children organization estimated that 50,000+ Yemeni children died from starvation in 2017 due to the war.

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