Senate votes to end USA support for Saudi forces in Yemen
Mar 16 2019
U.S. Senatevoted against the Yemeni war on Wednesday, pushing for an unprecedented rebuke to Trump's foreign policy.
The Senate has passed "war powers" legislation ordering the president to cease and desist his cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the destruction of Yemen.
"This war is both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster, and Congress has the opportunity to end it", Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and Sen.
Sanders teamed with Sen.
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), among others, seeks to end any and all U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led conflict, including providing targeting support for Saudi airstrikes in the war-torn country.
The resolution states that only Congress has the authority to declare war and that Congress has not declared war against the Houthis in the Republic of Yemen. US support for the Saudis does not constitute engaging in "hostilities", the statementsaid, and the Yemen resolution "seeks to override the president's determination as commander in chief".
"Millions of grassroots activists, who helped make this vote a reality, want their lawmakers to end this unconscionable war", Kate Gould, legislative director for Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, said. "The Senate's vote to end the US role in Yemen is also a vote to re-democratize our nation's foreign policy". "Concerns about Saudi human rights issues should be directly addressed with the administration and with Saudi officials", McConnell said from the Senate floor.
United States forces previously provided targeting support for coalition airstrikes and even mid-air refueling for coalition planes, until that practice was reportedly discontinued late past year. The hostilities in Yemen are being led by Saudi Arabia.
The bipartisan vote Wednesday is 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 a year ago. Next, it will move to the Democratic-controlled House, where it is expected to pass. "This resolution sends a awful message of USA division and lack of resolve, and sets a bad precedent for using the War Powers Resolution to express political disagreements with a president". The Senate first passed the measure 56 to 41 in December, but then House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to take up the resolution. Five years of fighting has resulted in a devastating humanitarian crisis in the country.
Largely overlooked throughout this whole process is that these votes show how US foreign policy, so often a byproduct of Washington lobbyists and other powerful special interests, can be democratized.