Senate passes resolution to end USA involvement in Yemen's civil war

Cheryl Sanders
March 15, 2019

The US Republican-led Senate has approved a bill to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber approved a historic curtailment of presidential war powers that directs Trump "to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen" within 30 days.

A Yemeni soldier is pictured near a poster portraying Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Yemen's President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi outside a hospital renovated by Saudi Arabia in Aden, Yemen December 13, 2018.

Supporters of the War Powers Resolution argued the U.S. shouldn't be involved in the war without explicit permission from Congress. Opponents argued the United States does not have "boots on the ground" and is offering noncombat technical assistance to Saudi Arabia, an ally. Bernard Sanders, a potential Trump 2020 opponent, who led the push for the move, flexing the War Powers Resolution.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Danny Burch, a former U.S. hostage in Yemen, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2019.

The war has also worsened the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where millions face starvation. Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana.

Overcoming a veto would require two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and House, more votes than it has garnered so far.

The vote was 54-46 in the Senate, more than the 51 needed to pass in the 100-member Senate, as seven Republicans joined Democrats in backing the measure. The text now heads to the Democrat-led House of Representatives.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition helping Yemen fight Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The White House has threatened to veto the bill, arguing that U.S. support for the Saudi coalition does not amount to "hostilities".

It would also be another strong rebuke of President Donald Trump's support for Saudi Arabia, which has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year.

The Trump administration also said it would "establish bad precedent for future legislation by defining "hostilities" to include defence co-operation such as aerial refuelling for the purposes of this legislation".

"The bottom line is that the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with an irresponsible foreign policy", said Sanders, speaking ahead of the vote.

"We need to stay engaged (in Yemen) with the limited engagement we've had", Risch said.

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has called the Saudi war on Yemen a humanitarian and strategic disaster.

"The Senate's vote to end the USA role in Yemen is also a vote to re-democratize our nation's foreign policy".

It is the second time the Senate has approved a measure that would curb USA military involvement in Yemen.

US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently told Washington-based publication The Hill that the vote could be "tight", but that the measure would be able to gain the required amount of vote to pass.

Other reports by iNewsToday