Lawmakers introduce resolution to end US military involvement in Yemen

Saturday 04 June 2022 / TheHill
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Nearly 50 House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bipartisan resolution to attempt to completely end U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. 

The Yemen War Powers Resolution, backed by 48 co-sponsors, would end all U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. 

The bill, led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will mark the third time lawmakers have invoked their war powers during the conflict. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is expected to introduce a companion version in the Senate when the body reconvenes next week. 

The resolution would require approval by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. 

Yemen’s civil war has been raging since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels took over the capital of Sana’a, sparking military conflict between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemeni government.

President Biden in his first month in office ended U.S. support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, but a small number of American forces are still involved in airstrikes and counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and affiliated groups in the country. 

The administration also continues to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, describing relations between Washington and Riyadh as vital and stressing that the United States remains committed to Saudi Arabia’s defense.

Critics, however, have accused the administration of continuing U.S. support of the conflict through providing aircraft maintenance and intelligence sharing, which they say still enables offensive operations that have killed thousands of civilians. 

The new resolution seeks to block that by putting an end to U.S. intelligence sharing that enables offensive Saudi-led strikes and stopping logistical support such as providing maintenance and spare parts to coalition members engaged in the anti-Houthi bombings.

It would also prohibit American personnel “from being assigned to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces engaged in hostilities without prior specific statutory authorization by Congress,” according to a statement on the resolution. 

“Congress, not the Executive branch, has the sole authority to declare war and authorize involvement of U.S. forces in overseas conflicts, including inserting U.S. troops as advisors in aid of foreign-led hostilities,” DeFazio said in a statement. 

“It’s critical that the Biden Administration take the steps necessary to fulfill their promise to end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen. We should not be involved in yet another conflict in the Middle East— especially a brutal war that has created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and contributed to the deaths of at least 377,000 civilians.” 

A United Nations-brokered truce has temporarily paused Saudi airstrikes, but efforts to ease aerial and naval blockade on food, fuel, medicine, and travel are still tenuous, according to the lawmakers.  

“With that truce scheduled to expire early this month, the new bipartisan resolution signals broad congressional resolve to ensure that Saudi-led airstrikes cannot resume, while adding incentive for the Saudi-led coalition to arrive at a broader, negotiated peace settlement,” they write

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