The U.S. Senate is slated to vote on Thursday on legislation that aims to block President Donald Trump’s plan to sell $8 billion-worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Many lawmakers, including members of President Trump’s Republican Party, oppose the move, arguing that Washington is ignoring human rights abuses, in particular by Riyadh. However, analysts are uncertain that the motion will garner the two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress required to override an expected veto by the president. Nevertheless, the vote comes a day after a United Nations official said evidence suggests that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman green-lighted – or at the very least tacitly approved of – an operation that led to the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The reporter went missing last October after entering Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, where he is believed to have been killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad. The kingdom has detained a number of people allegedly involved in the murder, pinning the blame on “rogue” elements. Many U.S. lawmakers have similarly criticized the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-aligned Houthis in Yemen, given that the military campaign has killed tens of thousands and pushed millions to the brink of starvation in what some are describing as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since World War II.
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