Khashoggi killing: US lawmakers introduce bill to curb arms sales to Saudi Arabia, FIFA announces no direct competition funding

image courtesy: new york post

A bill was introduced by a group of bipartisan US lawmakers in the House of Representatives to curb most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a hard-hitting response to Saudi critic, Jamal Khashoggi‘s killing, Al Jazeera reported.

Khashoggi entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.

Saudi Arabia has said the Saudi critic died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate – after two weeks of consistent denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

The bill includes a prohibition on security assistance, intelligence, training and equipment, but does not extend to activities related to safeguarding US diplomatic posts or personnel.

The bill said US President Donald Trump could request exceptions to the arms sale ban if he also submitted a report on a US investigation into anyone involved in “the murder of journalist and United States permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi”.

Following this particular development, FIFA announced that new competitions bringing in $25 billion dollars would ‘not be funded directly by any nation’.

Investments have been under intense international scrutiny after Turkey unveiled top Saudi officials’ involvement in the killing.

According to documents seen by news agency AP, FIFA council members have been told of principles that will be “fully adhered to in any potential future agreement” with investors in the Club World Cup and worldwide Nations League.

“FIFA would not enter into a joint venture for this purpose, whether directly or indirectly, with sovereign wealth funds of individual states,” the documents said. However, they did not say anything about investment from private entities who are linked to nation states.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Gina Haspel is returning to Washington, DC, from Turkey after reportedly listening to an audio recording that captured Khashoggi’s killing, The Washington Post reported.

Quoting people familiar with her meetings with Turkish officials, the newspaper said Haspel heard the “compelling” recordings after departing on a secret trip to Turkey on Monday. Turkish media reports also said the CIA head heard the recording.

If confirmed, the recording will give leverage to the U.S to accuse Saudi Arabia of premeditated murder, thereby putting pressure on it to hold the Saudi leadership, especially Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman accountable to Khashoggi’s killing.

“This puts the ball firmly in Washington’s court,” the newspaper quoted Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and scholar at the Brookings Institution, as saying.

“Not only will there be more pressure now from the media but Congress will say, ‘Gina, we would love to have you come visit and you can tell us exactly what you heard.'”

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