Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 54 on February 28, which, if passed, would require President Trump to remove all US personnel from their activities in support of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen and halt US logistical support to coalition air raids--including in-flight refueling, intelligence sharing, and targeting assistance--that have consistently targeted civilian schools, markets, and homes. Furthermore, S.J.Res.54 reasserts Congress’ power to approve and oversee the president’s deployment of the armed forces, as mandated by the War Powers Resolution. This assertion is not only a welcome congressional effort, as multiple presidential administrations have failed to push for an end to the war in Yemen; S.J.Res.54 is also the latest manifestation of a positive upward trend in congressional engagement on ending US complicity in and perpetuation of Yemen’s catastrophe.
Today the Yemen Peace Project (YPP), along with 64 other organizations, sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives to express their support for House Concurrent Resolution 81. The Resolution directs the President of the United States to end US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. Currently, the United States provides logistical, technical, and advisory military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen without authorization from Congress. The coalition has perpetrated war crimes, targeted civilians repeatedly using US-sold weapons, and created the conditions necessary for Yemen to become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Ending the United States military role in the conflict is essential to ending the notion that the coalition can win this war in the battlefield and push for peace.
A policy analysis by Jay Solomon of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes how President Trump places Yemen “front and center” in his new strategy to counter Iran. The Trump administration’s plan focuses on limiting Iran’s regional influence, which it exerts by providing weapons and training to militias in other countries. Regarding Yemen, Trump is concerned about Iranian weapon transfers to the Houthis, the increasing danger the Houthis pose to neighboring countries, and Iran’s ability to threaten energy trade routes in the Red Sea. Since the Houthis have already fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, Trump views the Houthi threat as imminent, and his plan to counter the group includes further assisting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, especially through intelligence and logistics support, reducing conditions on arms transfers to the coalition, and guarding the Red Sea against Iranian hostilities more forcefully.