Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today led 41 lawmakers in urging transparency from the Biden Administration regarding U.S. involvement in the Saudi/UAE-led coalition's war in Yemen as the U.S. ends its support for 'offensive' operations.
In a letter expressing their strong support for President Biden's decision to end U.S. participation in offensive operations in the Saudi/UAE-led war in Yemen, the lawmakers pressed the Administration to answer remaining questions about its Yemen policy going forward, including what constitutes "offensive" versus "defensive" support for the Saudi/UAE-led coalition, information regarding weapons sales and deliveries, support for increased humanitarian aid, and the U.S.'s plan for supporting peace negotiations.
The lawmakers, who have led efforts to reassert Congress's constitutionally granted war powers authority, wrote:
"Congress has repeatedly invoked its constitutional war powers authority by voting to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in this war via War Powers Resolutions …We seek to ensure that the Biden-Harris Administration's Yemen policy will adhere to the limitations sought by majorities of Congress in the numerous bipartisan votes on this subject.… For nearly six years, without authorization from Congress, the U.S. has aided and abetted the catastrophic Saudi/UAE-led military intervention in Yemen, despite the coalition's unconscionable record of indiscriminately bombing tens of thousands of civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, refugee camps, sewage treatment plants, and markets. This brutal war and the associated de-facto blockade have contributed to producing the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 13 million Yemenis now experiencing extreme hunger and millions more teetering on the brink."
Given the dire urgency of the crisis in Yemen—with the United Nations estimating that a child under the age of five dies every 10 minutes on average—the lawmakers requested a response from the Biden Administration before March 25, 2021, which marks the 6th anniversary of the disastrous Saudi-led military intervention.
The letter has been endorsed by the following organizations: Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Just Foreign Policy, Demand Progress, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Win Without War, United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Yemeni Alliance Committee, Action Corps, Churches for Middle East Peace, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team, Pax Christi USA.
Photo credit: Yemeni children demonstrate on the occasion of the UN's Universal Children's Day on November 20, 2017, in front of the UN offices in the capital Sanaa, as they protest against the airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. / AFP PHOTO / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)