tv NEWS LIVE - 30 Al Jazeera December 7, 2018 8:00pm-8:34pm +03
for the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi but can they force their president to drop his defense of the saudi royal this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program i'm martin dennis six senior u.s. senators from across party lines have introduced a resolution which holds the saudi crown prince personally accountable for the murder of john this jamal khashoggi now this directly contradicts statements from president trump who's insisted repeatedly that there's no definitive evidence connecting the hamad bin sound man with the crime john hendren reports from washington. it's an extraordinary rebuke from the u.s.
senate to a long time american ally a diverse group of senate leaders from both parties introduced a resolution that definitively blames the crown prince of saudi arabia for the murder of jamal khashoggi the measure which could be scheduled for a vote as soon as monday condemns kesho g.'s murder demands that the saudi arabian government negotiate an end to the war in yemen and an end to the political dispute with could talk and release saudi blogger rife by dolly and other political prisoners they have now linked old at least that belies ng actions that m b s says they starting with yemen passing by the sharks the murder on took up on any other level it is the latest bipartisan rebuke of the saudi crown prince and president trump support for him we are with saudi arabia we're staying with saudi arabian oil and not look at the kingdom the same way senators erupted in anger on tuesday after a long awaited briefing from cia director gina haskell it's sort of hard to call this a cover up given the fact that everybody in that briefing last week knew that tom
peo and madison were misleading us knew that there was no way this murder happened without the consent and direction of m.v.s. of the senate is already considering an unprecedented bill to invoke the never before used one thousand nine hundred seventy three war powers act to force an end to u.s. aid to saudi war efforts in yemen this six page measure would record the view of the senate that mohammed bin solomon is responsible for the murder of jamal khashoggi and it urges the u.s. and the international community to hold him and anyone else involved in the killing responsible and a joint statement democratic senator ed markey calls the crown prince a fuck up and republican senator lindsey graham calls him a wrecking ball rare harsh words for the leader of an allied nation. the resolution falls short of calling for regime change in saudi arabia but whether president trump likes it or not the rift between the u.s. government and its ally of eighty five years has rarely been wider john hendren al
jazeera washington. all right time to introduce our panel now in washington d.c. in fact all of our guests are in washington today but first we have john jones former senior congressional advisor during president obama's term we have secured new bar middle east analysts with expertise specifically in the gulf and chris garcia former deputy director of the u.s. department of commerce under president thank you and welcome to you all can i start with you joan with your experience of congressional affairs how important how significant how much weight does a resolution from the senate actually carry. well it's very significant this resolution is not a binding resolution but it is binding in the court of us in public opinion it's
striking to see the bipartisan support behind this resolution at a time where there really hasn't even been a great deal of bipartisan cooperation in the united states senate is is a strike across the bow in terms of the impact it can have on the u.s. saudi relationship and it basically states to the trump administration in regards to m.b.a.'s and the killing of mr coo shoki it's time for the administration to fish or cut bait ok joan but the administration the white house is under no obligation to abide by the terms of the resolution did i understand that correctly that is absolutely correct the resolution in terms of its impact on the administration is nonbinding however it does state publicly where the united states senate is when it comes to the status of the u.s.
side the relationship the united states' relationship with prince muhammad and the future interaction between the united states and the saudi government in terms of the potential impact it can have on sanctions the impact on potential u.s. saudi weapons agreements in the future as well as continued u.s. support for saudi military for diet and yemen all right and coming to you chris so a very very strong message even if it's not binding a really strong message with some very very strong rip us language coming from the senators of both sides of the aisle a strong message to president trump in the white house will he listen sure so this is something that is very difficult for. any president to be in this is a position really between the morality of the united states and the realities of what the problems are currently in the middle east namely the threat and the
violence of iran knowing that any type of destabilizing activity for example calling for regime change in the king of saudi arabia could lead to significant destabilisation which of course this is something that we are saying that is exactly when the senators though sorry to interrupt you chris but the senate is a not calling for regime change they seem to be making a clear distinction between the royal family and the existing thora he is in saudi arabia and the crown prince udo they accuse of having having carried out nefarious acts in the region which are not a tool stabilizing they are very destabilizing in fact i mean that's their argument right so i think that the overall analysis will will show that the long standing alliance with saudi arabia since one thousand nine hundred five has led to more stabilization for u.s. interests at the very least but this is something that the united states does not condone we do not condone in fact we condemn any extra judicial killings we don't
want to see this type of bad behavior from any of our allies but we have to have a measured response and i believe that it's the position of the united states to ensure that we keep stability with a longstanding ally like saudi arabia knowing that we have to show and we have to make it very clear that this cannot happen again won't be a one strike but perhaps you only get two what would it take then kristie you think the president trum to make the distinction that everybody else in the rest of the world seems to be doing and that is to separate out the crown prince who it is believed to have been behind this atrocious that and the rest of the authorities in saudi arabia president seems unwilling or incapable of doing that well the president's relying on his advisors. and those who have briefed him on this matter his secretary of state my pump a.o. has said that this will not be the final word in the us response to this action secretary maddest secretary of defense has said that any type of backing away or
minimizing of our relationship with saudi arabia that would embolden iran would be disastrous for the national security the united states and so i think the president's trying to balance the facts that he's receiving from his advisors with the morality that we know as united states americans we want to be the shining city on the hill we have to also develop some type of a measured response that does not permit this to happen again all right figured coming to you now what is what has happened to members of congress in the u.s. why of they all suddenly around this particular moment galvanized and decided that it's time to cool out mohammed bin sound man they're not going to put up with this particular lead the likes of of lindsey graham who as we know is a real close ally of president trump and his the two has been a great supporter a great advocate of the relationship with saudi arabia what's happened. you're up
you're absolutely right about lindsey graham and it's important for our viewers to remember that it was lindsey graham who led the republican coalition and a senate to confirm brett kavanaugh for the supreme court which for president trump was a tremendous political victory so the fact that lindsey graham is now a taking on the saudi crown prince who are trump is seen as defending him i think that what we really need to understand us that we are seeing a good cop worse as bad cop game playing out here because it is inevitable that the cia assessment is accepted across the political spectrum president trump has a responsibility as my colleague said to ensure that the u.s. saudi relationship does not call labs at the same time he is lending to congress lead on this issue and us the congress is now moving forward at a process it is important to understand at the resolution that we just discussed is
to first. measure that potentially could end up in sanctions imposed on the saudi leadership so this is a process moving forward and that process will also bit of be defined on what measures the saudi authorities are taking themselves to hold those responsible for this murder i think i don't want to aspect that so sorry to interrupt you but i'm quite fascinated by this you described this is a game of good cop bad cop cope what is he also met objective then as far as president trump is consent the ultimate objective it's always been the same and out of the us out a relationship goes back to one thousand nine hundred eighty two when f.d.r. met with. with with the founder of the kingdom. and so the relationship of strategic in nature and the relationship is between two government and not between individuals so precisely because the more because the public
opinion here in the united states and certainly within the political establishment has now concluded who is behind us murder the good cop or says bad cop dynamics is giving or providing a space i would add for to saudi royal family to take measures that they need to take in order for that alliance to prevail but also in order to force saudi arabia not to become a pariah state that nobody wants are able to become a pariah state but it's also understood that if present trumps go soft on a fourth and start shouting out negative anti saudi rhetoric that it will have the exact opposite impact of what united states is trying to do which is they move to balance between holding dollops responsible for their murder accountable and at the same time ensuring that the alliance remain intact and it's an extraordinary dangerous and difficult time absolutely joe and i saw you nodding your head nodding your head in agreement this sounds very much as though it's a carefully calibrated exercise if you like which has just pointed out this quite
a risky game isn't it that trying to keep all the pools up in the air also mentally without letting the person responsible for this this this heinous act go unpunished but still maintaining the state's relationships with the kingdom without a doubt you hit the nail on the head in what to chris's point. in agreement this is a relationship the u.s. saudi relationship that spans eight decades the u.s. saudi relationship is more important than any one government official and there are a lot of things for the administration to consider when you look across the board you have the u.s. saudi security relationship you have the. threat posed by iran in the region and the threat posed by iraq to u.s. interests in the region you have the sensitivity of the us israel relationship which the saudi government has
a great deal of influence on so all of thing all of these issues have to be taken into account when discussing or considering future steps the united states senate of course does not have to consider all of these factors but they do have to consider what is the impact of u.s. opinion when it comes to the killing of mr cruise shoki which was a rather brazen act and they are compelled to speak out and to do what they think is in the best interest of the united states reputation for the protection of human rights and civil rights region and in the international community and that chris throughout all of this this drama that is what it is the president has really got to watch in self isn't he because he looks weak he looks transactional he looks he's been acquitted casing hasn't come out one way or
another surely that's as damaging potentially to the person of the president as coming out and being strong and saying it like it is especially given all the information that he has at his disposal from the cia particular right will i think the president for want to i think we can all agree would never ever want to appear weak certainly on this serious matter though the president has called this the worst cover up ever he's had very very strong words condemning this action as this is secretary of defense and the secretary of state with regards to some of the activity that we expect from the president though i think we can take a look back to when we first found out that the that the that the crown prince may have been involved in the disappearance of jamal khashoggi we saw. there were sanctions placed on iran and saudi arabia was encouraged and asked by president trump to ramp up production knowing that supply would be decreased because people were not going to buy nations would not be able to buy from iran what we saw after
we learned about the killing of jamal khashoggi is that the u.s. administer that the trip of ministration the united states allowed for eight nations to be exempt from those iranian sanctions so the saudis have lost hundreds of millions of dollars surely as a result of these exemptions in allowing nations to to buy from from iran and so i think that the timeline of that is very fascinating perhaps that something that's not being reported and it could be something that could be looked into but i think that the timeline for that shows that the united states is trying to have is as serious of a response and the president wants to have as serious of a response and i think that he's certainly of the mind that the worst decision is in decision and so as secretary of state pompei have said earlier this is not the last word from the united states on this matter yes but chris. in this the vote debacle because that's the way it appears to have been handled by the white house
not only is the president himself facing a huge amount of criticism but you've now got mattison pompei is being accused of at best being loyal soldiers and it was just orchestrating some kind of cover up so then that in the firing line as well so the whole administration these got a question mark over it over it's come down to this entire episode well what they're doing is really they're dealing with the realities the realities excuse me of what we have in the current situation in the middle east the dangers that we perhaps may may see some increased violence or increased destabilization if we do about away from that saudi relationship this is something that you know really everyday americans often either overlook or or simply don't pay attention. too but there are significant back channel conversations happening right now to try to stave off and prevent this activity from happening again while also dealing in reality we have a serious serious threat in iran any type of destabilization or any type of balance
away from this relationship with saudi arabia could further embolden them right. washington is renowned is infamous isn't it for being a wash with the different lobbying groups and we know that the various actors in this particular incident. prominent in terms of being represented by lobbyists in washington should we be viewing this is perhaps a battle in between the various low being inside some one size is winning in the other side note to see that the side representing saudi arabia is losing at the moment is that why there's so much opinion in congress agitating against saudi arabia i would disagree with two points that were raised just now the first point about iran and its danger to the region and the second about lobbying i do think that because all the facts are established of what happened to jamal khashoggi who
by the way was a friend and colleague who i know very well so now that all these details of bin. have been cleared and people have an understanding of what happened to him what we're seeing is that we're seeing to force of the u.s. government to ason institution kicking in and shaping policy and it's important for our viewers to remember that the united states has three co-equal branches of government one is the executive of course which is spearheaded by president trump and the other one is the congress and the third one is of course your judiciary and disk ace the congress could very well move forward with imposing sanctions and legislation against saudi arabia and preventing american businesses from investing into a country that would be an extraordinary step if that were to take place and it could also hamper prince mohammad's twenty thirty those in which is to revitalize the
saudi economy by wearing off oil and energy dependence so all of that will be tied to congressional steps moving forward and the president has no interest or ability even if you wanted to to engage in any cover up because because the u.s. senate and the house of representatives are united on these issues so with endless contacts and the fact was a columnist for the washington post only underscores that whatever lobbyist or pay to play groups will try to influence this process going forward they would run into a brick wall so what but.