While the fact remains that the United States has long had and maintained such allies—staunchly defending them from international rebuke and shielding them from prosecution—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says the alleged murder and brutal dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by his own Saudi government and ongoing war crimes in Yemen should be the final straws in allowing the powerful Gulf monarchy to claim the U.S. as a friend and partner.
"We cannot have an ally who murders a dissident in cold blood, in their own consulate," Sanders declared on Thursday. "That is unacceptable by any government, but especially by one so closely aligned with the United States."
Meanwhile, Trump finally admitted on Thursday that it seems like Khashoggi is dead, but instead of condemning the Saudis, the president has continued to carry water for denials by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and later Thursday evening—instead of using a speech in Montana to condemn such behavior—he celebrated attacks on journalist by praising the assault by a fellow Republican who body-slammed a U.S. journalist last year.
The critique by Sanders is not an isolated occurrence as other lawmakers and outside critics have also said the Khashoggi murder should force a break in the decades-long relationship.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has been leading the charge among House Democrats by saying the U.S. should end its political alliance with Saudi Arabia, cease multi-billion dollar arms deals to the country; and also shut off military support for the country's ongoing assault on Yemen – a war which the United Nations warned earlier this week has put as many as 13 million people on the brink of famine.
Democratic Rep. @TulsiGabbard says the US needs to:
- End the alliance with Saudi Arabia
- Stop arms deals to the country
- End US military support in Yemen
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— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 18, 2018
In a video statement of his own on Thursday, Sanders explained why he believes it is time "thoroughly reevaluate" the U.S.-Saudi relationship and again called for the U.S. to immediately end its complicity in the Saudi-led massacre against the people of Yemen:
I have long been troubled by the nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. It's time for us to thoroughly reevaluate that relationship. pic.twitter.com/IICYFQXVXq
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 18, 2018
Demanding a full and independent investigation by the United Nations into Khashoggi's likely assassination on Thursday, Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, said that "Khashoggi's family and the rest of the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him. Partial explanations and one-sided investigations by Saudi Arabia, which is suspected of involvement, aren't good enough."