1. Update
  2. Middle East & Iran

Keep the Push Towards Peace in Yemen Going

By Liz Bajjalieh, November 15, 2018

Momentum to end the Saudi-led war in Yemen is growing. This progress was likely an important factor in the decision by House Republican leadership to block a vote on legislation to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen (H.Con.Res. 138) this week. Given the energy building against the war, if this legislation had come to a vote, it might well have passed.

The measure to block the vote was attached to unrelated legislation to take wolves off the endangered species list. The measure passed 201-187, with 42 representatives not voting. While this means that H.Con.Res. 138 will likely not progress in the House this year, the Senate could still advance similar legislation (S.J. Res. 54) to end U.S. involvement in Yemen.

This spike in congressional activity comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s decision to halt mid-air refueling support for the Saudi coalition. This is a step in the right direction, but to cement this victory, Congress must pass legislation to end all U.S. military support.

The Saudi-led war on Yemen has been devastating and Yemeni civilians are paying the greatest price. The country is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 14 million people on the brink of famine and an estimated 130 children dying of hunger or disease every day. More than three million people have been forced to flee from their homes. More than one million cases of cholera have broken out since the war began, the worst cholera epidemic in recorded history. The list goes on and on.

U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition actively allows these inhumane conditions to persist. By providing mid-air refueling and military intelligence, the United States has enabled the coalition to continue its military campaign. By selling arms to Saudi Arabia, our nation is aiding and abetting the bombing of civilians. In fact, the bomb that hit a school bus and killed dozens of Yemeni children in August was made here in the United States. U.S. military support for the Saudis and Emiratis also strengthens extremist groups on the ground in Yemen.

Congress has enabled these atrocities, and failed to use its war powers authority to prohibit the current intelligence sharing and training of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Since U.S. participation in the Yemen war has never been authorized by Congress, our current involvement illegal.

Three years of conflict has put 22 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian aid, but it is not too late to stop the violence.

Forty-four Senators are on the record as supporting of S.J.Res. 54, the Murphy-Lee-Sanders legislation to end U.S. military involvement in the war. Passing this legislation would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition as a matter of law, not simply as a matter of presidential discretion. Ending illegal U.S. involvement is one way to move Saudi Arabia to the negotiation table, bringing Yemen one step closer to peace.

Liz Bajjalieh

  • Program Assistant, Middle East Policy

Liz Bajjalieh served as the Program Assistant for FCNL’s Middle East Policy program in 2018-2019. As a Young Fellow, Liz’s responsibility was to help bridge the gap between constituents and their members of Congress through assisting with Middle East lobby visits, drafting action alerts, and addressing constituent concerns.