US lawmakers push bill to suspend Saudi arms sales amid Khashoggi murder

US lawmakers push bill to suspend Saudi arms sales amid Khashoggi murder
US lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would stop most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
2 min read
25 October, 2018
US President Donald Trump blasted Saudi Arabia's actions [Getty]
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the violent murder of Saudi journalist and prominent critic Jamal Khashoggi.

Twenty lawmakers signed the bill sponsored by Congressman James McGovern, which also called for a halt in US-Saudi security assistance, intelligence sharing and training.

"Under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, I've called for a serious review of our arms sales to the Saudi government," McGovernsaid. 

"With the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it's time for the United States to halt all weapons sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia. Our democratic values are on the line here – and we need to step up as a country and do the right thing."

After more than two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi, 59, was killed in its Istanbul consulate on 2 October, in what it said was an operation gone wrong.

Since the admission, Washington has increased pressure on Riyadh, including by revoking visas of nearly two dozen Saudi officials involved in the killing.

The sanctions, which were announced on Tuesday, came on the same day US President Donald Trump blasted Saudi Arabia's actions.

"They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups," Trump declared in the Oval Office.

"Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up. And they had the worst cover-up ever," he added.

The US president fell short of suspending arms sale to Riyadh, despite coming under pressure from both sides of Congress to take tough action against the kingdom.

"If they don't buy it from us, they're going to buy it from Russia or they're going to buy it from China... Think of that, $110 billion. All they’re going to do is give it to other countries, and I think that would be very foolish," he said.