UN Calls for Saudi-Yemen Ceasefire to Stop Cholera and Famine

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UN Calls for Saudi-Yemen Ceasefire to Stop Cholera and Famine

"U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen has never been authorized by Congress," Naiman writes

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). (Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/cc)

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen. "The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Thursday to immediately agree on a cease-fire and keep all ports open for humanitarian aid to confront the threat of famine and the rapid spread of cholera," AP reported.

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster." —Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)On June 13, using the Arms Export Control Act to force a floor vote, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to block an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Senators opposed to the deal stressed the need to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen rather than escalate it.

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Millions are at the risk of starvation...the chaos in Yemen has also been strategically disastrous for the United States, providing fertile ground for the extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS...it is long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia...it is important that we begin to discuss...the decades long effort by Saudi Arabia to export an ultra-reactionary form of Islam throughout the world."

"The human rights and humanitarian concerns have been well documented and are important,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. “Of equal concern to me is that the Saudi government continues to aid and abet terrorism via its relationship with Wahhabism and the funding of schools that spread extremist propaganda throughout the world."

Yet the New York Times reported on June 14 that the Trump Administration plans to escalate U.S. participation in the Saudi bombing of Yemen, with U.S. military advisers in the Saudi air operations control center in Riyadh.

U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen has never been authorized by Congress. Under the Vietnam Era War Powers Resolution of 1973, a single Member of Congress can force a debate and vote on withdrawing U.S. participation from the Saudi war in Yemen—the conflict that the UN Security Council has just unanimously said should stop immediately to save Yemen from cholera and famine.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, any Senator was able to force a vote on the Saudi arms deal, allowing the Senate to vote on U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war and blockade in Yemen. But the only way for House Members to force a vote on the war is to invoke the War Powers Resolution. The last time the House voted on any aspect of U.S. participation in the Saudi war was June 2016, when the House narrowly failed to prohibit the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

You can urge your Representative to force a House vote on backing the UN cease-fire call to save Yemen from cholera and famine by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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