Stop bloody, unauthorized war in Yemen - The Trentonian

Stop bloody, unauthorized war in Yemen - The Trentonian
Mon Dec 25, 2017 09:08:36

In a rare rebuke of Saudi Arabia, President Trump recently called on Saudi-led coalition forces to “facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid” into war-torn Yemen and urged an end to all hostilities.

“The United States continues to believe that the devastating conflict in Yemen, and the suffering it causes, must be brought to an end through political negotiations in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” the White House said in a Dec. 8 statement

Yemen has been ravaged in a bloody civil war between the Houthis and Saudi-backed forces, with Saudi Arabia leading a coalition of nine countries directly intervening since March 2015.

According to the United Nations, 3 million people have been displaced by the conflict, which has claimed at least 50,000 casualties, led to an outbreak of cholera and put millions at risk of famine. The World Food Programme estimates 17.1 million Yemenis are food insecure and 7.3 million need emergency assistance.

Groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented an array of human rights abuses committed against civilians. Many of the most egregious abuses have been committed by Saudi Arabia and coalition partners, including the bombing of dozens of hospitals and medical centers, the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas and the delaying of humanitarian aid into the country.

The Saudi blockade of Yemen has resulted in the delay or diversion of much needed food, medical supplies and other assistance to avert continued and avoidable suffering and death. So it is an encouraging sign that the Trump administration is finally pushing for the Saudis to lift the blockade, an essential move for the well-being of millions of innocent people, and we encourage further efforts to pressure the Saudis to do so.

But it can’t be swept under the rug that Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen have been enabled in large part by the United States, which throughout the war in Yemen has approved lucrative weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and provided direct assistance in the form of refueling Saudi war planes while in the air and helping to identify targets.

This has gone on despite numerous well-documented atrocities such as the October 2016 bombing of a funeral in Yemen that killed 140 people and injured 600 others. In the months following the bombing, the United States doubled fuel support for the Saudis, according to The Intercept.

American Congress has for the most part stood by and allowed this to continue, despite there being no formal congressional authorization for American involvement and no clear national security benefit to sponsoring what some are calling a genocidal war in Yemen. As recently as June, the Senate rejected a proposal to halt a $500 million weapons sale to Saudi Arabia.

In Oct. Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Thomas Massie, R-Kent., Mark Pocan, D-Wisc. and Walter Jones, R-N.C. introduced legislation invoking the War Powers Resolution to end American involvement in the war. The resolution was later watered down to a symbolic resolution acknowledging Congress hasn’t specifically authorized American involvement. It passed 366-30 last month.

Congress cannot continue to abandon its constitutional obligations and allow American resources to be squandered in unauthorized conflicts, especially those involving blatant human rights violations.

— Los Angeles Daily News, Digital First Media

(Photo: AFP)

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