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Punctuated by unrelenting Saudi airstrikes and Houthi drone attacks, the Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade have led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Millions of Yemenis require humanitarian aid for survival, and more than 2 million children under age 5 face acute malnutrition and death this year.

Millions of Yemenis require humanitarian aid for survival, and more than 2 million children under age 5 face acute malnutrition and death this year.

Glimmers of hope have appeared over the years, with Congress signaling that it would pass various iterations of the Yemen War Powers Resolution. Then in April 2022, optimism was restored by way of a truce—the first significant ceasefire since the war started.

In May, the Norwegian Refugee Council reported that Yemeni civilian deaths, mostly from Saudi airstrikes, had been reduced by 50% since the truce.

Largely due to the work of peace advocates, the truce, brokered by the United Nations, provides hope that real change is possible. Just as its extension was set to expire earlier this month, the warring parties agreed to another two-month extension, indicating an appetite for solutions to the unending devastation in Yemen.

Despite the truce, there are still severe restrictions on Yemen’s ports and major roads, preventing crucial humanitarian aid from reaching those who need it most. 

There is a lot of Quaker energy and support for solutions to the crisis in Yemen. FCNL Advocacy Teams, in collaboration with Yemeni Americans, faith organizations, peace organizations, and grassroots advocates worldwide, are leading the charge.

Since January, FCNL Advocacy Teams have logged hundreds of lobby visits in support of the Yemen War Powers Resolution, to end U.S. complicity in the Yemen war.

Since January, FCNL Advocacy Teams have logged hundreds of lobby visits in support of the Yemen War Powers Resolution.

By making clear that the U.S. won’t resume military support to Saudi Arabia and its partners in the Yemen war, Congress can help keep the pressure on the warring parties and prevent the peace process from getting derailed.

The resolution will also send a message to President Joe Biden that his administration must keep his promise to end its complicity in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Congress already made history in 2019 by passing S.J.Res. 7, another Yemen War Powers Resolution. This was the first such resolution to pass both chambers of Congress since the original passage of the War Powers Act in 1973.

Then-President Donald Trump vetoed the bill, but it sent a powerful signal to the world that Congress and the American people wanted out of Yemen. That was just the motivation peace advocates needed to press on.

Since then, Congress has voted several times to end the Yemen war. The votes helped persuade the United Arab Emirates to draw down its forces in Yemen, spur a reduction in cross-border attacks by the Saudis and Houthis, and revive negotiations between the warring parties. The new Yemen War Powers resolution (H.J.Res. 87/S.J.Res. 56) has a lot of momentum.”

Last year, President Biden started making good on his campaign promise of a policy reset on Yemen. He announced that the United States would end its support for “offensive” operations in the Saudi/UAE-led coalition’s war.

He also announced plans to increase diplomatic efforts to end the war. However, he sent mixed signals through continued weapons sales and military support for the Saudi-led war effort.

Against this backdrop, FCNL Advocacy Teams have continued their work to avoid a calamitous breakdown in the current momentum towards peace.

Yemeni voices—especially those of women like Al-Adeimi—are critical to explaining what is happening on the ground and connecting the dots between U.S. policy and the direct impact on people.

FCNL staff recently organized a briefing on Capitol Hill, with representatives from Columbia Law School and Yemeni activist and scholar Shireen Al-Adeimi, to detail possible solutions to the Yemen war.

Yemeni voices—especially those of women like Al-Adeimi—are critical to explaining what is happening on the ground and connecting the dots between U.S. policy and the direct impact on people. The recent congressional briefing was a great example of elevating the voices of people impacted by this war.

Despite our incremental successes over the years, more needs to be done to bring lasting peace to Yemen and end its devastating humanitarian crisis. The U.S. Congress has significant leverage to do it, but we need to keep the pressure on.

Hassan El-Tayyab

Hassan El-Tayyab

Legislative Director for Middle East Policy
Hassan El-Tayyab is FCNL’s legislative director for Middle East policy. His passion for foreign affairs is rooted in his desire to make life better for people in the Middle East, including his extended family in Jordan.