We have seen much recently about the Ukraine war anniversary. But March also marks the eighth anniversary of the war on Yemen and the 20th on Iraq. Members of Congress should introduce a Yemen War Powers Resolution before this war enters a ninth year.
In the past few weeks, activists in 17 cities across the United States protested at congressional offices and beyond, calling on lawmakers to bring the harmful U.S. role in the Yemen war to an end.
During the demonstrations, activists called on Sen. Bernie Sanders and other federal lawmakers to introduce a new Yemen War Powers Resolution this month. If brought up for a vote, Congress could order the president to end U.S. participation in the catastrophic conflict, which the U.S. has enabled for eight years. Sen. Sanders sponsored last year’s bill, but when he moved to bring the resolution to a vote in December, the Biden administration shut him down.
Sen. Sanders pledged to return to the Senate floor with a new Yemen War Powers Resolution if he and the administration were unable to agree to “strong and effective” action that would achieve his goals.
In the absence of meaningful public action from Biden to this end, the time is now for Sen. Sanders to make good on his pledge. For more than 11 months, Saudi Arabia has not bombed Yemen. However, without a negotiated settlement, this could change anytime. If the United States continues to support the war, it will be implicated in Saudi aggression if, and likely when, the conflict reignites.
Approximately two–thirds of the Royal Saudi Air Force receive direct support from U.S. military contracts in the form of spare parts and maintenance. The Saudi-led coalition has relied on this support to carry out these offensive strikes in Yemen. The United States has no sufficient compelling interest in Yemen that justifies complicity in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Since March 2015, the Saudi Arabia and /UAE)-led bombing and blockade of Yemen have killed hundreds of thousands of people and wreaked havoc on the country, creating one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. 17 million people in Yemen are food insecure and 500,000 children are experiencing severe wasting.
For years Saudi Arabia –– and the Yemeni government it supports –– have prevented virtually any containerized goods from entering Hodeida, Yemen’s principal Red Sea port. Containerized goods include essentially everything other than food and fuel.
This has hurt the economy and prevented critical life-saving medicine and medical equipment from reaching people in need. With apparent never-ending U.S. military support, Saudi Arabia lacks an important incentive to completely lift the blockade and withdraw from Yemen.
In 2018 Saudi dictator Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi and then lied about it. Just last year Saudi Arabia manipulated global energy markets to raise fuel prices and empower Russia in its immoral and illegal invasion of Ukraine.
These are just two examples of Saudi Arabia conduct harmful to the United States and its allies. The Biden administration was correct in October when it called for a re-evaluation of the US-Saudi relationship, urging Congress to propose measures to hold Saudi Arabia accountable. Passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution is a chance to do exactly that.
More than 100 national organizations – humanitarian, veterans’, libertarian, and others – wrote to Congress as recently as December urging passage of the Yemen War Powers Resolution. Bernie Sanders should re-introduce his resolution.
Under Article I of the U.S. Constitution, the power to raise and support armies is reserved for Congress. No Congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) has been issued for Yemen. The War Powers Resolution empowers Congress to invoke its war powers authority to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in wars like the war in Yemen.
Saturday, March 25 will mark the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing of Yemen. To mark the occasion, US and international groups will hold an online rally to inspire and enhance education and activism to end the war in Yemen. Join grassroots groups on March 25th at noon Eastern Time and please sign the petition at PeaceAction.org.