Ending the Bloodshed in Yemen
The Blade’s Editorial Board
The 56-41 vote by the United States Senate to end US military support for Saudi Arabia’s deadly war in Yemen is remarkable for several reasons.
First, and quite amazingly, it marked the first time that the Senate has utilized the powers granted to it under the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives Congress the authority to end military actions.
Second, the bipartisan vote was a complete 180 from just this past March, when a similar bill to end the US involvement in Yemen only received 44 votes. Political junkies will tell you that a 12-vote swing is an awful lot.
Of course, there is a reason for that vote swing and it was not because 12 senators suddenly developed a conscience. Rather, the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly at the order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, resulted in an enormous outcry. The country wanted Congress to rebuke the Saudis, and removing support of the war in Yemen, which has come mostly in the form of arms and fuel for bombers, was the clearest way to do so.
But getting out of the conflict in Yemen is good for the US and good for the world. Foreign policy experts agree that without US assistance, the bloodshed is likely to come to end. This would be great news because some analysts have estimated that more than 50,000 people have already been killed in the conflict and that nearly 20 million Yemeni are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. For reference, Yemen’s total population is just over 28 million.
Sadly, getting the Senate vote is not a straight shot for removing US support for the war. House Republicans, with the critical help of five House Democrats, slipped a provision into the recently passed “farm bill,” a legislative package focused on agricultural subsidies, which blocks a vote on the Yemen resolution during this congressional term. The thought is that the Senate, which will be even more GOP-heavy come 2019, will not pass the Yemen war resolution again.
The Senate must show its backbone in 2019 and vote the Yemen resolution through again, with the support of the House. Ending US support for the war in Yemen should not be a red vs. blue game. It should be a bipartisan consensus, fueled by a desire to stand apart from the Saudis and reclaim our morality.
There is no time for political gamesmanship. Both chambers of Congress should pass the Yemen war resolution and they should pass it now.
Source: The Blade, Edited by website team