On Feb. 13, the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 37, a joint resolution that purports to direct the executive branch to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
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Yesterday, on Dec. 13, the Senate made history. By a vote of 56-41, it adopted S.J. Res. 54, a bipartisan joint resolution that directs U.S. forces to withdraw from “hostilities” in Yemen not related to al-Qaeda within 30 days of enactment—a move that, its supporters maintain, will end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition currently waging a military campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Congress took what may be its most important step to date towards openly opposing U.S. involvement in the Yemen war. By a vote of 63 to 37, the Senate elected to discharge a joint resolution directing an end to U.S. involvement in Yemen out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on to the Senate floor. The resolution in question, S.J. Res.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.
The United States has usually not had a Yemen policy—rather, its policy toward Yemen is a subset of its policy toward Saudi Arabia. This is especially true today with the war in Yemen. Two U.S. administrations have backed the Saudi intervention in the civil war in its smaller and much poorer neighbor.
The United States continues to tacitly support Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’s military campaign in Yemen even as the country implodes, Iran’s influence grows and U.S. allies sink into the quagmire. The U.S. government calculated that supporting its allies in favor of preventing Iranian encroachment offers more value than the fallout from the humanitarian crisis.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’s deepening intervention in Yemen is the triumph of hope over experience. Riyadh’s latest campaign in Yemen began in 2015 to topple the then-triumphant Houthi rebels, whom Saudi leaders considered too close to Iran. Rather than dissuading their good buddies in Riyadh from this dangerous course, the UAE too has plunged into the morass, also hoping to set back Iran.
Over the last several days Emirati, Saudi, and Yemeni troops launched an offensive aimed at recapturing the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah. The port city, which accounts for 70 percent of imports into the country, is also a key source of income for the Houthis, a militia group that receives smuggled Iranian missiles and which has controlled the city and the port since October 2014.
Earlier this evening, the U.S. Senate voted to table the motion to discharge S.J. Res. 54, the joint resolution seeking to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, making it unlikely that the joint resolution will see further action.
Last Wednesday, Feb. 28, a bipartisan coalition of senators introduced a proposed new joint resolution seeking to compel the Trump administration to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. This resolution has already kicked off a new round of what is, in our view, a much-needed debate about the merits of U.S.
Yesterday evening, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) released a joint resolution seeking to compel the removal of U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen.
Joint Resolution on Yemen