Resolution calls for withdrawal of U.S. forces from conflict in Yemen

Randy Kelley
March 3, 2018

Sens. Bernie Sanders (-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) unveiled theie resolution to end USA involvement in Yemen.

According to Sanders, senator form the USA state of Vermont, "If you look at the War Powers Act, what America is now involved in constitutes a military action..."

"The War Powers Act does trigger our authority whenever we put our armed services personnel into a situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances", Lee told Al-Monitor.

Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution in a specific case that could get Congress back into the decision-making and accountability process. Via Twitter Sanders criticized US conformity with its government's interventionist policies and stated: "the time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war".

The move is part of a growing wave of concern over what some lawmakers say are outdated war powers for the president's authority to use military force, or AUMF. But it also enables the president to act unilaterally in the event of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces", a provision successive administrations have expanded - well beyond its limits, critics argue - to confront new global threats.

Since then, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed and millions face starvation due to Saudi-led blockades on food and supplies to civilians. The new text was approved, but it made no mention of Iranian weapons and support to the Houthis, who continue to fire ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia.A few days earlier, Russian diplomats in NY blocked a United Nations resolution seeking to establish a one-month cease-fire in the Syrian capital's suburb of Eastern Ghouta, place of the latest massacre of hundreds of civilians by pro-Damascus forces.

The current resolution will force a vote on whether the USA should continue to support Saudi Arabia.

Since then, the USA has been helping the Saudi-led coalition with weaponry and logistical support. However, U.S. participation in Saudi and Emirati hostilities against Yemen's Houthis has never been explicitly authorized by Congress as required by law.

As a result of the Saudi-led war, a child under the age of five in Yemen dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes.

Sanders, Murphy and Lee want to change that.

The move follows a resolution passed a year ago in the House which, among other things, acknowledged that American involvement in Yemen has not been specifically authorized by Congress.

"The two of them working together is certainly going to attract a lot of media attention and there's been a lot of grassroots support for this issue", said Kate Gould, the legislative director for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby.

"The limited military and intelligence support that the United States is providing the [Saudi]-led coalition does not involve any introduction of USA forces into hostilities", the letter says.

While both resolutions are technically bipartisan, 47 of the 50 co-sponsors in the House are left-leaning Democrats.

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