Perry O’Brien / Common Defense & Zaid Jilani / The Intercept – 2017-11-21 23:19:59
Special to Environmentalists Against War
Congress: War in Yemen is “Unauthorized”
Perry O’Brien / Common Defense
(November 21, 2017) — You’ve probably heard about the crisis in Yemen, where civilians are caught in a bloody and ruthless proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This atrocity has been escalating for three years, largely because our country is providing weapons, military intelligence, and other support to Saudi Arabia. Last week, Congress voted overwhelmingly to say that complicity in war crimes is unacceptable.
Over ten thousand people have been killed in this conflict, and right now, millions of Yemeni people are starving. Their nation is being ravaged by the worst cholera outbreak in human history. And Saudi ships have blocked every single port and harbor, preventing food, medicine, and water from reaching those in need.
As a medic in Afghanistan, I saw the worst consequences of a war that destroyed civilian infrastructure and left thousands of innocents dead. That’s why I’m committed to making sure we don’t repeat these horrors in other countries.
Senator Chris Murphy called our continued involvement in this war “barbaric.” Instead of selling high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, we should be using our diplomatic power to end the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians.
Congress took the first step to ending our support for this war, but we need to pressure them to do more. We must demand our country stop fueling reckless war.
It’s up to us to make sure our country acts as a force for good in the world, not enable authoritarian regimes and destructive conflicts. We need to take a stand. Help us elevate the voices of progressive veterans against this humanitarian disaster in Yemen.
Thank you for being a part of our movement.
Perry O’Brien, US Army veteran, Common Defense
Congress Votes to Say It Hasn’t Authorized
War in Yemen, Yet the War in Yemen Goes On
Zaid Jilani / The Intercept
(November 14 2017) — The Hourse of Representatives on Monday voted 366-30 to declare what has long been known — that it has not authorized US action in support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, but other than urging the parties to come to a negotiated solution, the resolution did not actually do anything to end American participation in the conflict.
Since the Saudi bombing of Yemen started in the spring of 2015 — when Saudi forces intervened on the side of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi — the US has played a close support role. It has aided Saudi bombers with targeting and assisted with refueling.
It has also sold tens of billions of dollars in munitions to the Saudis since the war began, while the kingdom has used US-produced aircraft, laser-guided bombs, and internationally banned cluster bombs to target and destroy schools, markets, power plants, and a hospital, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.
Following a deadly strike on a Yemeni funeral in 2016, the US actually doubled fuel support for Saudi airplanes. The war has led to an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions.
Which is why a bipartisan group of lawmakers last month pushed for an actual vote on United States support for the Saudi-led war. California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, and others sought to invoke a clause in the War Powers Act to bring a resolution to the floor that would force an up or down vote on war authorization.
But congressional leadership in both parties pushed back, doing everything they could to prevent a vote. Eventually, a compromise was struck, the result of which was the toothless resolution that passed Monday night.
The resolution acknowledges that “Congress has not enacted specific legislation authorizing the use of military force against parties participating in the Yemeni civil war that are not otherwise subject to the Authorization of Use of Military Force (Public Law 107â€“40) or the Authorization of Use of Military Force in Iraq (Public Law 107â€“243),” but does not withdraw funding for the participation.
It also “calls on all parties to the conflict to increase efforts to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and to increase humanitarian access,” but does not specifically condemn Saudi conduct in the war. It does, however, condemn “Iranian activities in Yemen,” citing arms transfers to the Houthi rebels.
Most of the 30 representatives who opposed the bill were outspoken opponents of US complicity in the Saudi war, such as Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison. One other opponent of Saudi intervention, Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, voted “present.”
On the other end of the Capitol on Tuesday, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., brought photos of starving and dying children to the floor of the Senate.
“Thousands and thousands inside Yemen today are dying. The Saudi-led coalition that has been engaged in an incessant two-year-long bombing campaign in Yemen is blockading Yemen — not allowing any humanitarian relief, not allowing fuel or food or water to get into the country. It would be one thing if the United States was a mere observer, but we are a participant in this,” said Murphy in a statement.
“This horror is caused in part by our decision to facilitate a bombing campaign that is murdering children and to endorse a Saudi strategy inside Yemen that is deliberately using disease and starvation and the withdrawal of humanitarian support as a tactic.”
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