Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), MoveOn, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Demand Progress, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) and the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft released a coalition letter signed by nearly 70 national organizations, including Indivisible, National Council of Churches, Concerned Vets for America, Defense Priorities Initiative, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Bring Our Troops Home, and many more. In an effort to strengthen the recently announced temporary truce and further incentivize Saudi Arabia to stay at the negotiation table, the groups urged Congress “to cosponsor and publicly support Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio’s forthcoming War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen.”
While the truce has had a positive impact on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, UN officials warn that millions are still in need of urgent assistance. In Yemen today, roughly 20.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid for survival, with up to 19 million Yemenis acutely food insecure. A new report indicates that 2.2 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition over the course of 2022 and could perish without urgent treatment.
“The recently announced nationwide truce between Yemen’s warring parties offers hope that an end to the seven-year conflict might finally be possible,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, legislative director for Middle East policy at Friends Committee on National Legislation. ”Congress must help prevent backsliding by Saudi Arabia, which has driven so much of the violence through indiscriminate airstrikes and crippling blockade, by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution and blocking U.S. military support for any renewed hostilities. Congressional pressure is critical right now to keep the warring parties at the bargaining table and off the battlefield. By reasserting its Article I war authority, Congress can help extend this temporary truce into a lasting peace settlement and bring this devastating humanitarian crisis to an end.”
“The Saudi government’s brutal war in Yemen has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and continues to threaten countless more through airstrikes and famine. The people of Yemen are facing one of the most horrific humanitarian crises of our time,” said Leah Greenberg, co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible. ”More than seven years into this crisis, the U.S. must bring an end to our unconstitutional military involvement and leverage our position to push to de-escalate the atrocities of this war. We are beyond complicity—the U.S. government has actively supported this inhumanity, and it’s long past time to end U.S support for the war and work towards peace. Congress must pass the Yemen War Powers Resolution immediately.”
“For seven long years, administration after administration, from Obama to Trump to Biden, have skirted our constitution to pursue the war in Yemen without seeking congressional approval,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). “This ill-considered venture has led not only to devastating consequences for Yemen’s people, but endangered our military forces and our nation, making us legitimate targets for counterattack. It’s time to put an end to short-sighted, reckless miscalculations on the decision to go to war: we need to reaffirm this decision must always rest in the hands of the people’s Congress by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution.”
“When President Biden took office, he committed to ending U.S. support for the Saudi-UAE-led coalition’s brutal war on Yemen,” said Cavan Kharrazian, Foreign Policy Campaigner at Demand Progress. “Unfortunately, the U.S. continues to provide critical support for the coalition’s war effort and blockade, which has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Congress has not approved our participation in this war and should immediately pass a War Powers Resolution. The current ceasefire in Yemen provides an important window of opportunity to show the Saudi-UAE-led coalition that the U.S. will no longer support their war, which can encourage a permanent peace settlement.”
“The fragile truce between Saudi led coalition and Ansar Allah is a golden opportunity for the Biden administration to push for an end to Saudi Arabia’s brutal war and war crimes against the Yemeni people,” said Aisha Jumaan, President of Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. “The War Powers Resolution is essential to make clear that the United States won’t militarily support more Saudi airstrikes on Yemeni civilians. By supporting Reps Jayapal and DeFazio’s Yemen War Powers Resolution, Congress can do its part to keep Saudi Arabia and its allies negotiating in good faith and bring this devastating conflict to an end.”
“Although President Biden initially seemed to signal that he would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, it has become clear that his administration is not committed to constraining Saudi aggression,” said Annelle Sheline, Research Fellow at Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “If it were, we should have observed Saudi air strikes on Yemen decline under Biden, and instead they have risen. US support for the Saudi war continues despite a growing recognition that the US-Saudi relationship is deeply dysfunctional and fails to serve US interests. For this reason, it is imperative that Congress pass a War Powers Resolution, to remind the executive branch of Congress’ Constitutional authority and role as a voice for the American people.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.