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Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman has gone `full gangster`, says US Senator

Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman has gone `full gangster`, says US Senator”

President Trump's pick for ambassador to Saudi Arabia is urging State Department probes into Saudi nationals accused of committing crimes in the U.S.

Senators also condemned Saudi Arabia's conduct in the ongoing war in Yemen, which the Crown Prince has been instrumental in.

In November, the president announced that he would be nominating Abizaid for the position after the killing of Khashoggi.

Despite increasing tension between the two countries, the U.S. has not had an ambassador to Saudi Arabia since Trump became president in January 2017.

Student leaders in Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania voted to endorse a controversial boycott campaign targeting Israel on Sunday, after initially rejecting.

Outside the kingdom, lawmakers noted, the Crown Prince is driving a devastating war with Yemen; has curtailed diplomatic relations and investment with Canada after objecting to tweets about human rights abuses; very likely ordered the premeditated murder of USA resident Jamal Khashoggi; kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon; and triggered a spat between Gulf allies that undermines U.S. attempts to create a united Arab front against Iran.

President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as ambassador to Saudi Arabia said the US must engage and partner with the kingdom to counter threats from Sunni-Muslim extremism and Iran despite the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi and frustration over the war in Yemen.

The crown prince has denied any involvement in the killing of Khashoggi, who died after entering the Saudi Consulate in October to get paperwork for his marriage. It also came amid growing global concern over the alleged Saudi government's human rights violations.

Concerning support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, Abizaid said the U.S.

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Part of the unbridled criticism over recent alleged Saudi misbehavior comes from frustrated American lawmakers that want to see the Trump administration take a harder line over Saudi Arabia, while both the House and Senate have passed resolutions to that would end USA support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"Doing so bolsters the self-defense capabilities of our partners and reduces the risk of harm to civilians", Abizaid said.

A confirmation hearing was also held on Wednesday for Matthew Tueller, the current United States ambassador to Yemen and Trump's nominee for ambassador to Iraq.

Abizaid also warned that if a rogue Iranian-linked Hezbollah force forms in Yemen, it would be a "lethal threat" to the region and one that the USA and Saudi Arabia couldn't ignore.

Under the government that is effectively headed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi authorities have intensified a coordinated crackdown on dissidents, human rights activists, and independent clerics. A comparison could even be made over human rights abuse claims, torture and other disconcerting claims in China, particularly in Tibet, where hundreds of thousands of citizens, mostly men, are detained for extended periods of time and endure what Beijing calls re-education.

Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Saudi Arabia has engaged in acts that are simply not acceptable", Republican Senator Jim Risch, the committee chairman, said on Wednesday. Risch has held two classified briefings in the past two weeks for the panel to discuss Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, Senator Bob Menendez, the committee's ranking Democrat, acknowledged the strategic importance of Saudi ties, amid threats from Iran. "But we can not let these interests blind us to our values or to our long term interests in stability", Menendez said.

As the hearing continued, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said bin Salman had gone "full gangster," an assertion repeated by another Republican, Senator Ron Johnson.



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