Middle East

US Home pushes ahead invoice to guard Saudi dissidents and droop arms gross sales

The American Home voted in favor of a invoice to restrict arms gross sales to Saudi Arabia and to carry the dominion chargeable for the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The invoice, titled the Saudi Dissident Safety Act of 2021, was handed on Wednesday by a bipartisan 350-71 vote, pushing the laws ahead.

If handed within the Senate, the laws would droop arms gross sales to Saudi Arabia for 120 days and require a overview and potential closure of Saudi diplomatic places of work if they’re discovered to be concerned within the harassment or spying on dissidents in the US.

This is able to not forestall the dominion from buying defensive weapons.

“ This invoice provides that glimmer of hope to so many individuals who look to this group for cover and the secure harbor ”

-Gerry Connolly, Home Democrat

Led by Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat who represents the Northern Virginia district the place Khashoggi resided, the laws was handed by the Home International Affairs Committee final month as half of a bigger bipartisan legislative bundle. in response to Khashoggi’s homicide.

“We can not sit idly by on this physique and watch a US resident, my voter, brutally murdered and dismembered in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. attribute of the strategies utilized by some forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards dissidents, ”Connolly stated when the invoice was debated on Monday.

“America stays the beacon of hope for individuals who search freedom. Primary and easy freedoms … This invoice gives that beacon of hope to so many who look to this physique for cover and secure harbor, “he continued.

The vote comes two months after the publication of a report by the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (DNI) that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman authorized of Khashoggi’s assassination at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Congress insists on accountability

Whereas US President Joe Biden has chosen to not impose sanctions on the crown prince, the US Treasury has imposed sanctions on dozens of Saudis for his or her involvement within the Khashoggi homicide and different rights violations.

“What now we have completed by the actions now we have taken is admittedly to not sever the connection however to recalibrate it in order that it’s extra in keeping with our pursuits and our values,” stated the secretary of state. Antony Blinken to reporters on the time.

But Congress continued to aim to carry the Saudi authorities accountable for the homicide, together with the recently introduced Saudi Arabia’s Accountability for Gross Human Rights Violations Act, which requires Congress to be made conscious of the position, if any, of all entities named within the ODNI report within the homicide of Khashoggi or different severe human rights violations.

Another room of laws launched by Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski early final month would impose visa bans on Saudi officers concerned in Khashoggi’s assassination, together with the crown prince.

‘Killer breaks free’: anger erupts over new photographs of sanctioned Saudi official

Learn more “

Khashoggi, a former Saudi authorities insider and journalist who wrote for the Washington Publish and Center East Eye, was residing in the US on the time of his dying.

Saudi authorities brokers murdered him and dismembered his physique on the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, the place he was making an attempt to retrieve private paperwork in October 2018.

The Saudi authorities initially insisted that Khashoggi had left the constructing alive, taking two weeks to confess that the journalist had been killed. But Riyadh claims the assassination was a rogue operation that occurred with out the approval of senior officers.

Khashoggi’s homicide prompted Congress to provide you with some form of punitive measure towards the dominion, and the urgency to take action has not abated because it occurred over two years in the past.

Whereas former US President Donald Trump took steps to guard Riyadh and Mohammed bin Salman from the fallout, Biden throughout the election marketing campaign referred to as Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state.

Since then, Biden has vowed to “reassess” US-Saudi relations, halting some arms gross sales to Riyadh and saying the tip of Washington’s assist for the dominion’s “offensive operations” in Yemen.

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