Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Boozman (R-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Christopher Coons (D-DL) and Ed Markey (D-MA) signed a letter Thursday calling on the government of Saudi Arabia to take steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The letter was addressed to Prince Khalid bin Salman at Saudi Arabia’s embassy in DC.
The Senators offered five steps that the Saudi government, in coordination with the United States and our regional partners, can take to alleviate some of the suffering of the Yemeni people:
- Lend full support to Secretary Mattis’ call for a political settlement in Yemen
- Refrain from bombing the port of Hodeidah and call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire around the port.
- Reform the inspection regime at the port of Hodeidah to eliminate unnecessary delays in the delivery of severely needed humanitarian and commercial supplies.
- Facilitate the delivery of cranes to the port of Hodeidah to increase humanitarian aid and commercial capacity.
- Redouble efforts to ensure airstrikes do not hit key economic facilities and civilian infrastructure.
More than 17 million people, that means 60% of Yemen’s population, are food insecure.
You can read the entire letter and details on those 5 steps on Senator Young’s website.
Senator Rand Paul has also continued to voice his opinion about US involvement in Yemen. Recently he said The U.S. should not fund Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen.
But when did we declare war on Yemen? When did Congress vote to authorize military force in Yemen? Who is the enemy, and why are we fighting them?
As my colleague Senator Chris Murphy said last year, “If you talk to Yemenis, they will tell you that this is perceived inside Yemen as not a Saudi-led bombing campaign […] but as a U.S. bombing campaign or at best a U.S.-Saudi bombing campaign.”
Obviously, none of this enhances U.S. national security. But how many Americans are even aware that we are actively involved in a war in Yemen?
The US constitution requires congressional approval before entering a war, yet here the US is… right now in yet another war in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is buying the bombs it uses to drop on Yemen from the US and the new president’s first military act as president was to send a Navy SEAL team on a raid. The senator argues that before putting our troops in harm’s way like in the Navy SEAL raid, congress should debate our involvement. We also sent our Navy SEALs into that raid to kill the people who are fighting our common enemy – the Houthi. He fears that Yemen could become like Syria because like our involvement in that country caused ISIS to fill gaps that weren’t there before, our involvement in Yemen could make one for Al Qaeda.
The senator also questions our support of Saudi Arabia because 16 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from that country and families of the victims are currently pursuing legal cases against Saudi Arabia for their involvement.
Last year I introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Murphy to stop a U.S. transfer of arms and dollars — costing $1.15 billion in all — to the Saudis. The Senate voted to allow the sale. The debate, however, prompted President Obama to reconsider and ultimately to cancel the sale of more bombs to Saudi Arabia.
Now, the Trump administration is considering going ahead with more missile sales to Saudi Arabia. This would be a serious mistake. If the sale is debated in Congress, I will reintroduce legislation to stop it.
People! It’s never to early to call your representatives in Congress. If your senator did not sign Todd Young’s letter or if you want to support legislation that Rand Paul plans to introduce, let them know!