March 19, 2019

Senate urges halt to United States support for Saudi war on Yemen

15 March 2019, 07:04 | Devin Moran

The Latest: Senate votes to end US support of Yemen war

Defying President Donald Trump US Senate votes to end support for Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen

Defying a White House veto threat, the U.S. Senate voted 54-46 Wednesday on ending U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

"This war is both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster, and Congress has the opportunity to end it", Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the resolution's author, told reporters before the vote.

The war in Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 14 million people at risk of starvation.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, accompanied by Sen.

Kate Gould, legislative director for Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, applauded the grassroots activists who have been working tirelessly to end America's disastrous role in Yemen. The United Nations has called it the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe.

Saudi airstrikes aimed at the rebels have also struck civilian areas, killing thousands of people and wiping out entire neighborhoods and hospitals. Save the Children, a London-based human rights organization, estimated in a report last Novemberthat 85,000 Yemenis under the age of five have starved to death since the Saudi-led coalition began bombing the country.

The United States provides weapons and refueling to the Saudi coalition.

"The United States should end its involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has resulted in widespread starvation, disease, and death", Blumenthal said.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), among others, seeks to end any and all USA involvement in the Saudi-led conflict, including providing targeting support for Saudi airstrikes in the war-torn country. "Lastly and not leastly important, the United States Congress is going to reassert its constitutional responsibility over issues of war that has been abdicated to presidents - Democrats and Republicans - for too many years". The war powers resolution seeks to end any US military involvement in the conflict, including providing targeting support for Saudi air strikes, without authorization from Congress.

Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, argued that US support for the Saudi-led coalition helps facilitate peace talks and withdrawing from the conflict would delay an eventual political settlement.

Backers of the resolution, including a handful of Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, argued that USA involvement in Yemen violates the constitutional requirement that Congress, not the president, should determine when the country goes to war. However, the White House has stated that if the resolution were to land on US President Donald Trump's desk, he would veto it.

It's also another strong rebuke of President Donald Trump's support for Saudi Arabia, which has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi previous year.

Romney said while he has concerns about Saudi Arabia's recent behavior, particularly the murder of Khashoggi, ending support would undermine US allies and security interests in the region by emboldening Iran, hampering counterterrorism efforts, and potentially worsening the humanitarian crisis.

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