Monday, 25 March, 2019

Senate clears Yemen War Powers Resolution in rebuke to Trump

The Latest: Senate votes to end US support of Yemen war Senate clears Yemen War Powers Resolution in rebuke to Trump
Kenny Thornton | 15 March, 2019, 07:10

The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a resolution that would end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led coalition's brutal war in Yemen, countering President Donald Trump's support for the controversial conflict.

His legislation calls for an end to a USA role in hostilities in Yemen, a nation of almost 30 million people at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, where fighting between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthi rebel movement, backed by Iran, has been raging for four years. Next, it will move to the Democratic-controlled House, where it is expected to pass.

"It's becoming clearer and clearer that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not an ally that deserves our unwavering, unquestioning, unflinching support", Lee said, according to Politico.

In its statement threatening a veto, the White House argued the premise of the resolution is flawed and that it would undermine the fight against extremism.

But its full passage would set a historic marker. In an attempt to "halt American military involvement in a foreign conflict", this is the first time the decade-old War Powers Resolution was invoked.

The four-year-long civil war in Yemen, which pits the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels backed by Iran, has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world's most dire humanitarian crisis, with the country on the brink of starvation.

"We should think twice about undermining those very partners whose cooperation we need for our own security", Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.

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McConnell argued the Yemen resolution "will not enhance America's diplomatic leverage" and will make it more hard for the U.S.to help end the conflict in Yemen and minimize civilian casualties.

Coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have relentlessly bombed Yemen since 2015 in an effort to oust the Houthi rebels controlling the capital city of Sana'a. "We should instead signal our resolve that the U.S.is committed to playing an important role in pushing for a sustainable political settlement in Yemen". The vote may well be the first of two congressional rebukes of Trump in as many days.

Murphy said that after the Senate voted for a similar resolution previous year, the warring parties in Yemen moved towards a cease fire.

In that case too, he has promised to use his veto. Now, the USA provides logistics intelligence support, which officials say chiefly helps limit civilian casualties.

Sen. Mike Lee has long called for the end of USA involvement, saying in a speech previous year that continuing to support the Saudis, especially in light of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is "bad diplomacy".

Some members of Congress have publicly stated that they suspect that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for the killing, based on the CIA's conclusions.

"We have the opportunity to cast the historical vote which will end the most horrific war on the planet right now, where 85,000 kids have already starved to death, and stop following the lead of a despotic, murderous regime in Saudi Arabia", Sen.

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