Washington, DC— On Wednesday, Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 81 to force a congressional debate and vote on America’s military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. US law requires the president to consult with Congress before introducing US forces into a conflict, and gives Congress the authority to end any military action that has been ordered by the president. HCR 81 directs the president “to remove United States Armed forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.” The Yemen Peace Project applauds the efforts of Reps. Khanna, Massie, Pocan, and Jones, and urges all members of the House to vote in favor of HCR 81.
Since March 2015, the US has provided the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen with military support, including targeting intelligence, mid-air refueling, and other logistical support. US personnel are reported to be housed in the coalition’s joint command center assisting coalition forces with their airstrikes. CENTCOM has publicly confirmed that the US continues to provide mid-air refueling to the coalition, despite having no information on the objectives, flight plans, or targets of the refueled missions and no way to verify whether such missions comply with the laws of armed conflict or US national security objectives. US weapons have been repeatedly misused in airstrikes on civilians and civilians objects, causing numerous civilian deaths and destroying Yemen’s vital infrastructure. By supporting the coalition, the US has facilitated systematic and grave violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen and the creation of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
“America’s involvement in this war has been disastrous from the start, and congressional oversight is long overdue,” said Kate Kizer, director of policy and advocacy for the Yemen Peace Project. “With this resolution, Congress finally has an opportunity to end this counterproductive intervention and refocus US attention on the peace process and humanitarian response, where it belongs.”
There has been no statutory authorization for US involvement in this conflict, and the sixty-day period during which the President can deploy armed forces without Congressional authorization has lapsed. America’s military involvement thus far has only served to perpetuate and escalate the conflict. Congress has the authority under the War Powers Resolution to direct the president to remove US forces from Yemen; the passage of HCR 81 will be a positive step toward the resolution of Yemen’s civil war, and the end of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.