WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under pressure from Congress, the Trump administration faces a dilemma: how to respond to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi while ensuring that any punitive action does not alienate Riyadh, a key ally against Iran.
Leading senators have already made their displeasure clear with Saudi Arabia, with Senator Bob Corker telling Reuters, “You can’t go around killing journalists.”
Saudi - Arabia - Denials - Role - Khashoggi
Saudi Arabia’s denials that it had any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance have fallen on deaf ears in Congress, with nearly a quarter of the Senate triggering a U.S. investigation into the case.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who forged close ties with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon taking office, has also increasingly expressed frustration with the case.
Actions - Trump - Allies - Contrast - Administration
Harsh actions against one of Trump’s stalwart allies would be a sharp contrast with the administration’s relatively muted tone over the kingdom’s role in the war in Yemen and a crackdown on internal dissent.
Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged the case – if Saudi responsibility is confirmed – could complicate the U.S. strategy to contain Iran, in its bid to gain influence throughout the Middle East.
Things - Corker - Wednesday - Senate - Relationship
“It could affect multiple things that we’re working with them on that are very important,” Corker said on Wednesday, adding that the Senate’s relationship with Saudi Arabia was at a “very, very low point.”
Riyadh already is facing a backlash in Congress where anger has been mounting over civilian casualties in the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen.
Wednesday - Week - Khashoggi - Oct - Disappearance
On Wednesday, a week after Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 disappearance, the White House said that senior officials had spoken to the crown prince, referred to in shorthand as MbS, and Trump described the case as a “very serious situation.”
The outcry from lawmakers of both parties, including Republican allies of Trump, foreign policy analysts, former U.S. officials and leading media...
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