TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “Khashoggi is not the only guy that the Saudis have murdered, disappeared, jailed or kidnapped,” said Michael Springmann, the head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 1987 to 1989.
“Other people, other princes, other activists have suffered similar or worse fates than Khashoggi,” Springmann said in a phone interview with Press TV on Monday.
Several US Republican senators have again rejected President Donald Trump’s defense of Saudi Arabia after the murder of Khashoggi, with some lawmakers from his party saying Congress must take additional action.
Trump vowed last week to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia and said it was not clear whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the plan to kill Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally in the Senate, announced Sunday that Congress needed to take action against bin Salman after a CIA assessment concluded with "high confidence" that he had ordered the hit job.
The CIA believes bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a US resident since 2017 and a columnist for The Washington Post who was critical of bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader
However, the US president has cast doubt on the CIA assessment, telling reporters that the intelligence agency had not formed a definitive conclusion.
"It's good that they (US lawmakers) are talking about stopping weapons sales to Saudi Arabia," Springmann said. "But it's the same Senate who earlier in the month voted down a resolution to block arms sales of some $300 million to Bahrain which is a brutally repressive country."
The analyst stressed that members of Congress are often very "selective" in their response to human rights abuses by repressive regimes supported by Washington.
Riyadh initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, then offered contradictory explanations.
In a major break with Trump, key senators in the Republican Party have pledged a tougher response to Saudi Arabia in light of the murder and its war on Yemen.
“I disagree with the president’s assessment. It’s inconsistent with the intelligence I’ve seen,” which implicates the crown prince, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He cited the Khashoggi killing as another reason why he has pushed to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.