The Middle East Eye & World BEYOND War & Stop the War/US & CODEPINK – 2019-02-01 22:49:22
US Lawmakers to Reintroduce Bill to
End Support for Saudi-Led Forces in Yemen
The Middle East Eye
Sanders & Bipartisan Coalition Reintroduce Resolution to End Support for Yemen War
(January 31, 2019) — US Senators Mike Lee and Bernie Sanders are on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum — the former, a Republican from Utah, is a staunch conservative and the latter is a Democratic socialist from Vermont.
But they have come together, along with a host of other US lawmakers, to demand an end to Washington’s involvement in the devastating war in Yemen.
On Wednesday, members of the Senate and US House of Representatives announced they would re-introduce a bill requiring President Donald Trump’s administration to stop providing logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition’s war efforts in Yemen.
In December, a similar bill cleared the Senate in a 56-41 vote but was blocked by the House, which was then under the control of Republicans.
To come into effect, the new bill would need to clear the Senate and the House, and then be sent to the White House for Trump to sign. He has vowed to veto the bill, meaning it would go back to the Senate, where a two-thirds vote can override a presidential veto.
Still, the Senate vote last year was the first time Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which gives it the power to withdraw US involvement from wars it has not authorised.
“Late last year, I had the opportunity to meet with several brave human rights activists from Yemen urging Congress to put a stop to this war,” Sanders said during a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.
“And they told me very clearly: When Yemenis see ‘Made in USA’ on the bombs that are killing them, it tells them that the United States of America is responsible for this war.”
Saudi Arabia, with support from the United Arab Emirates, launched its military operation in Yemen in 2015 to root out Houthi rebels and restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power.
The US military provides intelligence and logistics support to Saudi forces, and up until recently, it was also assisting with mid-air refuelling of Saudi jets.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the ongoing conflict and Yemen is facing widespread malnutrition and diseases.
‘Congress Is Acting’
Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman from California, said the war has pushed more than half of Yemen’s population — about 14 million people — to the brink of starvation.
“There’s no complex foreign policy; it’s a matter of human decency and this resolution will make it clear that the coalition should stop the bombing campaign and come to the table and negotiate,” Khanna said during the news conference.
In a statement, Khanna said the reintroduced bill has the backing of the current House leadership and is expected to come up for a vote next month.
He also said he believes the recent actions Congress has taken on Yemen helped bring the country’s warring parties to the negotiating table.
Representatives for the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition met in Sweden in December for United Nations-brokered peace talks, the first in years.
Both sides agreed to a prisoner exchange as a result of those negotiations, as well as a ceasefire deal in the critical port city of Hodeidah, which is a key entry point for humanitarian goods entering Yemen.
“I am 100 percent convinced that the only reason those parties have come to the negotiating table . . . is because the Congress is acting,” Khanna said.
Bipartisan efforts to end Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have been widely viewed as a sharp rebuke of the US president.
Trump has vowed to remain a staunch supporter of Saudi Arabia and the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), despite journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and amid growing international outrage over the situation in Yemen.
Late last year, senior members of the Trump administration repeatedly sought to convince US lawmakers to vote against the Yemen resolutions.
Then-Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked members of the House “to continue the military advising, logistics support and intelligence that have for years been shared with Saudi Arabia”, the New York Times reported in mid-December.
Pompeo also previously said the US-Saudi partnership was “vital” to US national security interests and the stabilisation of the Middle East.
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Mark Ruffalo Explains the Crisis in Yemen. This video was originally made to advocate for the Senate War Powers Resolution, earlier in 2018. General principles and facts remain the same.
(January 30, 2019) — Back on December 13th, the US Senate voted to end US participation in the war on Yemen by a vote of 56 to 41. But the House passed a bill, by a three-vote margin, that included a ban on taking such a vote in 2018.
Now it’s 2019. The House is led by a different party. We’ve heard a lot about there being a new Congress in town. Yet weeks have gone by without a new vote on Yemen — while the Pentagon continues to provide major help to the Saudi-led slaughter of Yemeni people.
Finally, Congressman Ro Khanna and Senator Bernie Sanders have just reintroduced legislation to force a vote. Urge your Congress Members to support it.
In recent weeks, the Saudi murder of a US journalist has faded from the headlines, but the mass killing in Yemen has continued. Meanwhile, US claims to not be training UAE forces for the war on Yemen have been disproven.
Here’s the language that will be sent to Congress:
“As your constituent, I urge you to take action to end American complicity in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. We cannot sit by while our government increases suffering in a country devastated by conflict, cholera, and famine.
“I strongly urge you to co-sponsor and support the War Powers Resolution introduced in the House by Rep. Ro Khanna and in the Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders. The privileged resolution would end US military involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.”
Yemen continues to be the worst humanitarian disaster on Earth, with tens of thousands dead and far worse looming if action is not taken. A ceasefire in the key port of Hodeida is encouraging, but the World Health Organization (WHO) just reported that 24.4 million Yemenis, 80 percent of the country, are in need of humanitarian assistance, millions of children are suffering, and 16.6 million people lack water and sanitation services.
As in other recent US wars in the Middle East, a result is increased terrorism. Along the way, the US and its allies have in fact sometimes partnered with Al Qaeda. A primary US ally in the region is, of course, Saudi Arabia, a government whose brutality and violence can match that of any entity on earth.
Congress has swallowed enough lies and empty promises from the White House and Pentagon. If this Congress is even the slightest bit more humanitarian than the last one, it will end the US role in the war on Yemen immediately, an action which would make it difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue the war alone.
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Tell Congress to End US Support for the Bloody War on Yemen
This is the moment to mobilize.
Pressure is mounting to end
US support for Saudi Arabia
because millions of lives are
at stake in Yemen. Tell Congress to act
It’s an exciting time. Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Bernie Sanders have just reintroduced legislation to invoke the War Powers Act to end US support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
Back in December 2018, the US Senate voted to end US participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen by a vote of 56 to 41 but the bill didn’t pass the House. Now it’s 2019. With the House under Democratic control, we have a good chance of winning in both the House and the Senate. Let’s do this.
Yemen continues to be the worst humanitarian disaster on earth, with a Yemeni child dying every 10 minutes. A ceasefire in the key port of Hodeida is encouraging, but the World Health Organization (WHO) just reported that 24.4 million Yemenis, 80 percent of the country, are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 16.6 million people lack water and sanitation services.
We almost got this done in the last Congress and now we have a Democrat-led House and even more progressive champions. If we take action now, we can get this legislation passed!
For the people of Yemen,
Medea and the entire CODEPINK team: Ann, Ariel, Carley, Caroline, Katie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, Tighe and Ursula