SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK:The votes last Thursday were a rare rebuke to President Donald Trump, but largely symbolic. To become law, they would need to pass the House of Representatives, whose Republican leaders have blocked any legislation intended to rebuke the Saudis.
Khashoggi, a royal insider who became a critic of Prince Mohammed and began writing for the Washington Post after moving to the United States last year, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. Saudi officials have rejected accusations that the crown prince ordered his death.
The murder has sparked global outrage and damaged the international reputation of 33-year-old Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto leader, who is pushing economic and social changes in the world’s top oil exporter.
Saudi Arabia has also come under increased scrutiny for civilian deaths and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where it supports the internationally-recognized government against Houthis in a nearly four-year-old civil war.
At UN-mediated talks in Sweden last week, the warring parties agreed to a local ceasefire to try to avert more bloodshed in the port of Hodeidah, which is vital for food and aid supplies.
Opponents of the Senate resolutions want to maintain the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Administration officials also see Saudi support as a linchpin for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan yet to be disclosed by the Trump administration. And they have argued that ending US support could complicate Yemen peace efforts.
The Saudi statement said the kingdom “hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the United States of America, to avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that could have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship.”