SANAA, Nov. 28 (Saba) - For three years the Saudi regime is waging a futile and unjust war in Yemen, the Senate will vote on whether to withdraw support of Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen, a decision that could roil the United States’ alliance with Saudi Arabia and threaten the heart of President Trump’s Middle East strategy.
More than 50 prominent figures and former officials have signed a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his colleagues to end America’s involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The signatories —want McConnell and other senators to support a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) that would force President Donald Trump to stop backing Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other coalition members in their fight against the Houthi rebels within 30 days, which will likely be put to a vote to limit presidential war powers in Yemen, following a closed-door, classified briefing to senators by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.on Wednesday.
The lead authors of the letter, legal experts Bruce Ackerman and Laurence Tribe and former US ambassadors to Yemen Barbara Bodine and Stephen Seche, argue that Trump’s support for the war is unauthorized by Congress and therefore illegal. Ackerman and Tribe advise the Congressional Progressive Caucus which has pushed the Senate and House hard to end America’s role in the Yemen war.
If Trump wants to recommit troops to the war, he would then have to seek authorization from Congress to do so. The US helps the Saudi-led coalition by providing them with intelligence, selling those arms and ammunition, and until recently fueling planes in the conflict that has left tens of thousands dead, and millions more suffering from starvation and disease.
Several senators signaled they would use the briefing on Yemen to also ask about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist and Saudi dissident, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The death sparked international outrage over the kingdom’s heavy-handed tactics and renewed attention to the war in Yemen.
In March, the same bill failed in a 55-44 vote. But if the bipartisan bill passes this week, it would be the first time in US history that the Senate voted to say America’s involvement in a war was unconstitutional.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Tuesday called Mr. Khashoggi’s killing “completely abhorrent to everything the United States holds dear and stands for in the world.”
Even senators who oppose the resolution said it could be used to urge the administration to revamp relations with the kingdom as a result of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.
Mr. Trump’s recent defense of Prince Mohammed — saying “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” play a role in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing — raised the stakes for both leaders.
“Donald Trump is now seen as defending one of the most disliked countries in the world,” Mr. Riedel said. “And the people who despise Saudi Arabia the most tend to be Donald Trump supporters who see the Saudis as stealing their money at the gas pump.”