On Sept. 20, FCNL joined dozens of organizations in calling on Congress to end all U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war and blockade in Yemen. With lawmakers actively working on the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the window for action is now.
Dear Member of Congress,
We the undersigned organizations urge you to end all U.S. participation in the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war and blockade in Yemen during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Specifically, we urge you to:
- Suspend the transfer, sale, and authorization for licenses for the export of defense articles likely to be used in the war and blockade in Yemen, with particular attention to any item designated under Category IV of the United States Munitions List.
- Expressly prohibit any further U.S. assistance or support to the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war and blockade on Yemen, including intelligence sharing, logistics, spare parts, and maintenance activities.
Consideration of this year’s NDAA comes at a critical time for Yemen, as roughly 16.2 million people in Yemen are at risk of famine. Aid agencies have described Yemen as the worst place in the world to be a child, with the conflict claiming the lives of at least 85,000 children from hunger and disease. The UN warned this year, 400,000 children under the age of 5 could perish from severe acute malnutrition this year without urgent action.
While we appreciate many aspects of President Biden’s Yemen policy reset, our groups remain extremely concerned about remaining U.S. complicity in the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war in Yemen. In April, the Department of Defense acknowledged that the United States continues to provide maintenance support and spare parts transfers that enable Saudi-led aerial operations in Yemen, including the enforcement of the blockade and continued airstrikes.
Our groups remain extremely concerned about remaining U.S. complicity in the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war in Yemen.
Earlier this year, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, Bruce Riedel told Al Jazeera, “The United States provides spare parts, munitions, technical assistance, all kinds of things to the Saudi military, which enable its offensive operations. So if the Saudis continued to use the Royal Saudi Air Force to bomb targets in Yemen, presumably, under this doctrine, that aid and assistance should halt.”
Since the start of the war, U.S.-enabled Saudi warplanes have enforced the blockade of Yemen, leading to devastating impacts on food access for millions of Yemenis. Saudi fighter jets effectively shut down Sana’a airport in April 2015 by bombing the airport’s runway. The attack also destroyed cargo planes transporting humanitarian aid. Saudi bombings of Sana’a airport have occurred periodically ever since.
Last month, CARE and Norwegian Refugee Council wrote in a joint statement, “Sana’a’s airport closure for the fifth consecutive year has left stranded at least 32,000 critically ill Yemeni patients in need of life-saving treatment abroad, since the first and last medical flights in February last year.”
Despite calls by the Biden Administration and a bipartisan group of over 100 members of Congress for Saudi Arabia to lift import restrictions on Yemen, the Saudis have tightened the flow of fuel imports since January, driving up food prices and causing massive shortages. In February of this year, zero fuel was allowed to enter Yemen’s major port of Hodeidah. In the months since, fuel import levels have remained far below what’s needed to sustain a population of nearly 30 million and UN-approved cargo ships remain unable to berth in Yemen’s Red Sea ports in a timely manner. The resulting fuel crisis has had devastating humanitarian consequences for Yemenis, including hindering vital food shipments and causing hospitals to go without adequate electricity.
On March 11th, addressing the UN Security Council, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said, “most hospitals only have electricity in their intensive care units because fuel reserves are so low. I know this firsthand because I walked in the hospital and the lights were off.” He pleaded: “It is hell on earth in many places in Yemen right now,” and concluded, “That blockade must be lifted, as a humanitarian act. Otherwise, millions more will spiral into crisis.”
Again, we the undersigned groups, urge Congress to use the FY2022 NDAA to legislate an end to ongoing U.S. complicity in the war and blockade in Yemen. By suspending the sale of arms and ending U.S. participation in the Saudi coalition’s war and blockade, Congress can prevent a humanitarian catastrophe from spiraling further out of control as it reasserts its Constitutional authority on matters of war and peace. Thanks for the consideration of this important matter.
American Friends Service Committee
American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA)
American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)
Arabian Rights Watch Association
Center for International Policy
Charity & Security Network
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Church World Service Inc.
Churches for Middle East Peace
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
EIHR: The Educators Institute for Human Rights
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Health Alliance International
Historians for Peace and Democracy
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Islamophobia Studies Center
Just Foreign Policy
Justice For Muslims Collective
Justice Is Global
National Council of Churches USA
Neighbors for Peace
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive Democrats of America
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
ReThinking Foreign Policy
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team
Students for Yemen
The Episcopal Church
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
To End All Wars
Union of Arab Women
United for Peace and Justice
Win Without War
World BEYOND War
Yemen Freedom Council
Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
Yemeni Alliance Committee
Yemeni Liberation Movement