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For Immediate Release

Contact

Maria Langholz, maria@demandprogress.org

Press Release

As State Department Claims Legal Immunity for MBS, Demand Progress Calls on Congress for Political Accountability for Saudis

WASHINGTON -

In response to reports that the Biden administration is claiming Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman cannot be held legally responsible for his involvement with approving the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi because of sovereign immunity, Demand Progress calls on Congress to hold the Saudi government politically accountable by ending U.S. support for Saudi military adventures in Yemen that have killed hundreds of thousands.

“President Biden vowed to hold accountable Saudi ruler MBS for Khashoggi’s murder by making him a ‘pariah,’ and Congress should help Biden keep his word by passing a War Powers Resolution that cuts off U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. “Saudi Arabia is controlled by an outlaw regime, as demonstrated  by the murder of  a U.S.-based journalist and by deliberately holding down oil production to support Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.The United States should no longer prop up that regime’s unconscionable war in Yemen that killed nearly 400,000 people, including untold children.”

The Yemen War Powers Resolution would “Direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” Specifically, it would:

  •     End U.S. intelligence sharing that enables offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes;
       
  •     End U.S. logistical support for offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes, including the providing of maintenance and spare parts to coalition members engaged in anti-Houthi bombings in Yemen; and,
       
  •     Prohibit U.S. personnel from being assigned to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces engaged in hostilities without prior specific statutory authorization by Congress

The House resolution currently has 117 cosponsors (H.J.Res.87) and 13 Senate cosponsors (S.J.Res.56). These co-sponsorships will dissipate at the end of this congressional session.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, partners in the Yemen War, have a long history of trying to influence U.S. policy. As reported by the Washington Post, the UAE has spent $154 million on lobbying the U.S. government since 2016 and hundreds of millions more in donations to U.S. universities and institutions. Saudi Arabia spent $25 million on lobbying targeting the United States in the first year of the Biden administration; 15 retired U.S. generals have worked as paid consultants for the Saudi military since 2016. 

Continued U.S. support for these nations’ war suggests these influence campaigns are working. The U.S. must hold the Saudi government, and its leaders, accountable for murderous ways. The best place to start is to get out of the business of providing military support to the Saudis.

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