At long last, Congress is making progress to end U.S. involvement in the bloody, devastating war in Yemen.
On Wednesday, the House passed a joint resolution directing the removal of all U.S. forces involved in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, including forces responsible for supporting or aiding the Saudi Arabian regime. The bill was a long time coming, and still may never become law, but if it passes the Senate, it may force Trump to either back away from his support of Saudi Arabia or issue the first veto of his presidency.
Some version of a Yemen bill has been knocking around the Capitol since 2017. Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee succeeded in passing a similar Senate resolution in December, but a concurrent bill failed to make it to a vote in the House because Paul Ryan pulled some extremely underhanded shit.
With Ryan out of the way, the resolution—championed by California Rep. Ro Khanna and co-signed by dozens of Democrats and some Republicans—passed today. The resolution leverages the fact that Congress has never declared war on Yemen, and argues military operations there in support of the Saudi regime can be revoked under the War Powers Resolution. The bill does not call for an end to separate U.S. counterterrorism operations against Al-Qaeda elements in the same country.
Saudi Arabia’s protracted air campaign and ground offensive in Yemen has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and widespread famine. This shocking violence has, at almost every step along the way, been aided and abetted by the U.S. military industrial complex, as Saudi pilots trained by the U.S. drop U.S.-made bombs from U.S.-made planes refueled by U.S. military tankers. It is a national disgrace that must end, and it’s ghastly that it took this long for Congress to act. But as long as Sanders and Lee have the votes they did in December, there’s a good chance the measure will make it through the Senate again, with the final decision being going to Trump. Whether he would sign the measure to bring about an end to the war or shoulder the burden of more death and devastation remains to be seen.