Why We Intend to Pass a New Yemen War Powers Resolution

The latest round of devastating airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen marks the latest escalation in a conflict that has dragged on for nearly seven years and has pushed millions to the brink of famine and killed hundreds of thousands from civilians. A recent bombardment killed at least 90 people and shut down internet access for the whole country for days. The disturbing truth is that for too long the United States, through its military involvement in the Saudi-led coalition’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, has been directly involved in that terrible war. It is time this complicity ended.

Last week a year ago, President Biden announced that he would withdraw US support from the Saudi-led coalition’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. This indicated a dramatic drop in military logistical support and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But the exact opposite has happened.

Last year the administration made the transition 1 billion dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, and the US continues to provide logistics support this is essential to the deadly Saudi Air Force bombings.

Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has redoubled its strategy of collective punishment, conducting and destroying hundreds of indiscriminate airstrikes vital civilian infrastructure, and further aggravating a cripple blockade in Yemen’s ports – restricting access to food, fuel and medicines. As a result, there is now over 16 million Yemenis living on the brink of starvation and over 2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition.

Since 2015, the United States has been directly involved in this war without congressional authorization. This is in clear violation of Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which gives Congress the power to declare war and authorize US military involvement.

Following Biden’s announcement last year, 41 members of Congress pressed the government for transparency on ongoing US involvement in the war in Yemen, including what constitutes “offensive” versus “defensive” support for the Saudi-led coalition.

That of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reply came three months later and offered no new information about measures to end the so-called “offensive” support. The Pentagon later accepted that it will continue to allow spare parts transfers and support in maintenance activities and logistics for Saudi Air Force operations.

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