‘Yemen Can’t Wait’: Ahead of War Powers Vote, Urgent Push for Senate to End US Complicity in Saudi Atrocities

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2018

“It’s long past time to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen,” Peace Action wrote on Twitter. (Photo: CodePink/Twitter)

With a vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) resolution to end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen expected as early as Wednesday, grassroots anti-war organizations are ramping up pressure on Democratic senators who sided with the Republican majority in voting down the same measure earlier this year and demanding that Senate Minority Leader MChuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) act on his words by co-sponsoring the resolution.

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough,” Sanders, who introduced the bill alongside Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), declared on Tuesday. “The Senate must vote to end U.S. support for this war.”

On Twitter, Peace Action, CodePink, and other anti-war groups focused their pressure campaign on the Democratic senators who joined hands with a nearly unanimous GOP caucus in March to block Sanders’ measure, Senate Joint Resolution 54.

Those Democrats are: Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Chris Coons (Del.), Jack Reed (R.I.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.).

To see where your senator stands on Sanders’ Yemen resolution, see Win Without War’s running whip count.

“It’s long past time to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen,” Peace Action wrote on Twitter. “Call your senators today at 202-224-3121 and ask them to support Senate Joint Resolution 54 to end the unauthorized U.S. role in the war.”

Though Sanders’ resolution failed by an 11-vote margin earlier this year, the Saudi kingdom’s gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has intensified scrutiny on the decades-long U.S.-Saudi relationship and sparked hope among peace groups that senators could switch their votes this time around. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who voted against the measure in March, said on Monday that he would support the resolution when it reaches the floor.

“Given President Trump’s defiant and erratic statements defending Saudi Arabia and refusing to take any meaningful steps to hold the Saudi government accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, urgent congressional action is needed to force Trump’s hand and use our best leverage with the Saudi government by ending all U.S. military involvement in the Yemen war,” MoveOn campaign director Iram Ali and Indivisible associate policy director Elizabeth Beavers said in a statement on Monday.

Specifically, Beavers and Ali called on Schumer to go beyond rhetorical support for Sanders’ measure by co-sponsoring it, just as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has co-sponsored Rep. Ro Khanna’s Yemen War Powers measure in the House.

“Over the past three years, the U.S.-Saudi war has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and threatens to starve to death 14 million people—half of Yemen’s population,” Beavers  and Ali said. “We call on Leader Chuck Schumer to follow Pelosi’s lead and cosponsor the measure. We also demand that all Senate Democrats vote in support of S.J.Res. 54 to help avert a famine of an increasingly horrific magnitude that would leave 14 million on the brink of famine.”

Editors’ note: Meanwhile, the Senate has a closed door briefing about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Who isn’t the Trump administration allowing to brief the Senate? Gina Haspel, the head of the CIA, who’s actually traveled to Turkey to hear the evidence provided by the Turks.

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