Overnight, a double Senate vote struck a blow to President Donald Trump and to the American foreign policy impressed by the current administration in charge of the White House. The Senate voted – a non-binding choice, but with a strong symbolic value – the end of support (military and otherwise) to Riyadh in Yemen; in addition, hereditary prince Mohammed bin Salman (Mbs) is responsible for the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Last week the senators had already marked a clear distinction with respect to President Trump, stating that there is “no doubt” about the involvement of the crowned prince in the brutal assassination that took place on October 2nd at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The votes, even that of yesterday, have no legal value and to be able to become binding they need the approval of Congress. And in the assembly the Republican deputies have repeatedly blocked motions against Riyadh.
However, it remains a historic decision, with 56 favorable senators (and 41 against) to stop supporting the Saudi Arab military coalition in Yemen which, according to the UN and humanitarian agencies, is responsible for the death of civilians, including children. For the first time, therefore, the two chambers are in favor of the withdrawal of the armed forces, using the powers provided by the War Powers Act. A 1973 law, which limits the powers of the head of the White House to dispose of the armed forces without the consent of Congress.
Yesterday, seven Republican senators voted together with the Democrats. And the Senate voted a second motion in which he accuses Mbs of Khashoggi’s death and urges Riyadh to punish those responsible, whoever they may be. “Unanimously, the Senate said that the crowned prince is responsible for the murder. It is a strong and clear statement “, said Bob Corker, president of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and leader of the motion.
So far there has been no official reaction from President Trump, who backs support for Saudi Arabia and the number two bin Salman. There are also billion dollar weapons sales at stake, which the Senate has criticized for their use in Yemen. A White House spokesman recalled the “strategic interests” at stake with the kingdom that “remain” in spite of the senators’ choices; however, proponents of the motion, including Republicans, promise to continue their battle.