Kenny Stancil Military

Progressives Demand End to US Involvement on 7th Anniversary of Saudi-Led War on Yemen

With each passing day, the crisis in Yemen intensifies.
A Yemeni girl walks over the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the Old City of Sana’a on July 7, 2019. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

By Kenny Stancil / Common Dreams

On Friday, the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, four members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus implored President Joe Biden to immediately end U.S. military support for the deadly assault—and vowed to pass a War Powers Resolution to make it happen if the White House refuses.

“Seven years ago today, the United States began unauthorized military participation in Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen. In the time since, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes and air-and-sea blockade have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and threatened millions more with famine, triggering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in a statement.

“On this grim anniversary—spanning seven years and three presidential administrations—we are calling for an immediate end to American involvement in the Saudi-led coalition’s brutal military campaign,” said the lawmakers. Time is of the essence, they stressed, because “with each passing day, the crisis in Yemen intensifies.”

Biden promised over a year ago to end U.S. support for “offensive operations” in Yemen, but his administration has continued to offer hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons maintenance and billions in arms sales to Saudi and Emirati regimes accused of war crimes. Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Right Council in October voted not to renew the mandate of the independent monitoring group investigating potential violations of international law in the conflict.

“Saudi airstrikes have escalated in recent months,” the lawmakers said Friday, “killing and injuring four times as many civilians as the previous year.”

At the same time that civilian casualties are surging, humanitarian aid is drying up. “The Saudi blockade has reportedly prevented all fuel from arriving at Yemen’s major port since January, causing massive shortages,” said the lawmakers. “And with 30% of Yemen’s wheat imports coming from Ukraine and food prices soaring, acute hunger is expected to increase five-fold.”

As Jayapal, Sanders, Khanna, and DeFazio noted, “Congress has repeatedly voted to end the United States’ unconstitutional participation in this conflict.”

“This past fall, for the third time in as many years, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act to terminate ongoing military involvement,” the lawmakers said. “Still, the flow of U.S. logistics, spare parts, and maintenance essential to Saudi Arabia’s devastating bombings and aerial siege continues to this day.”

“We know that concern is not limited to Congress,” said the lawmakers, who pointed out that when Biden was a presidential candidate in 2019, he urged Congress to override then-President Donald Trump’s veto and pass a War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

Earlier this month, as the White House sought to contain a spike in oil prices amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the de facto rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates declined to accept Biden’s phone calls and reportedly demanded even deeper U.S. involvement in Yemen.

After that, the lawmakers said Friday, “there is no better time for the president to fulfill his promise: ‘end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen,’ and ‘make clear that America will never again check its principles at the door just to buy oil or sell weapons.'”

“While the United States may not be able to unilaterally end all fighting in Yemen, we can stop participating in Saudi Arabia’s brutal campaign, and exert leverage to compel them to lift their blockade,” said the lawmakers.

“Now, on this solemn anniversary, we urge the Biden administration to act,” the lawmakers continued. “If not, we remain committed to invoking Congress’ constitutional authorities to pass a new Yemen War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized involvement in this conflict.”

“American complicity in this humanitarian disaster has persisted for too long,” they added, “and we will not allow it to continue.”

Kenny Stancil

Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

6 comments

  1. This is Kafkaesque.
    The time to stop involvement was in 2015 (or even earlier, when Obama was extrajudicially droning the American al Awlaki family, starting in September, 2011). Obama/ Biden agreed to supporting the Yemeni genocide by the Saudis in exchange for their “non-criticism” of the now defunct Iran nuclear deal (Joe Lauria). It is one of the few deals/ treaties “honored” by multiple Presidents, but only because the Empire depends on the oil of “our good friends” the Saudis, and our economy is largely dependent on weapon sales and Forever Wars.
    Jayapal, Sanders, Khanna, and DeFazio are totally unprincipled; they put Party above Principle when Obama agreed to supporting the genocide back in 2015, then were aghast when Trump also supported Obama’s war, and now claim “Biden promised…”
    Biden made lots of promises during his Election campaign; the only ones that matter to him are clearly his promises to the MIC, Wall Street, Big Pharma and his own personal corrupt family enterprises in Ukraine, China and other countries.

  2. US is just like my Catholic religion, ruled by hypocrites and liars, with the exception of those pushing this end to US support for the war in Yemen.

  3. Oh? Common Dreams? Yeah, that odd aggregator. The USA is so tied in its DNA to the extended Military Industrial Complex these writers fail to see how each chip of paint and diode and space design and management app, even Holly Dirt, or Burger King whopper is predicated on war.

  4. when have americans not supported fascist wars and dictatorships? Never

  5. 1. To be clear, the genocide in Yemen caused by Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and the U.K. is the biggest human disaster* currently occurring on the planet. Everyone participating in this from all three countries should be charged with human rights crimes and probably war crimes, and imprisoned for life if found guilty.

    2. What planet is this author living on? Does he even know what the petrodollar is? The U.S. is required to provide military arms and assistance to Saudi Arabia in exchange for Saudi Arabia requiring payment for oil in U.S. dollars only. Until the U.S. gets off the petrodollar, which it’s been on for about 50 years, it has no choice here as far as its leaders are concerned. Of course the only morally correct choice would be to dump the petrodollar and force Saudi Arabia to immediately cease its genocide in Yemen, but that would require prioritizing other things over money, like, oh I dunno, LIFE.

    3. I don’t trust anyone in Congress to ever do the right thing. These congresspeople are saying the right things on this issue, but if it ever came to taking a tough vote on this (i.e., more than just a symbolic vote that wouldn’t accomplish anything substantial and for which they’d have to pay some political price), I can’t imagine they’d do the right thing. The closest one I’ve seen in Congress to being willing to do this is Ilhan Omar, and even she’s voted the wrong way on major issues.

    * I say the greatest “human” disaster is that nonhumans are facing much bigger problems, like destruction of ecosystems and habitats, and extinction. Humans, in stark contrast, are thriving, at least for now.

  6. Newsflash to the fraud “progressives”: the neocons and right wingers (like Biden) don’t give a damn what you think and say. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you know that your pleas will fall on deaf ears. What’s the point, really, at this point? Every one of you is down with the proxy war in Ukraine. What are you fools going to run on for the midterms, “we pretended to try hard, but utterly failed?” What a goddamn joke you all are.

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