Yemen’s Fate is in Trump’s Hands

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Congress has finally grown a spine.

For the first time in more than forty years, Congress has invoked the War Powers Resolution to demand that the US end its assistance to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their war against Houthi rebels in Yemen.  The US has been involved in the Saudi-led war without the authorization of Congress as mandated by the Constitution.

The resolution went to President Donald Trump’s desk on Thursday.  As I write this, Trump has not yet vetoed the resolution.  Trump, however, has said that he will, and has been saying it since at least March of last year.  The Administration argues that, contrary to the resolution’s language, the US is not involved in “hostilities” in Yemen because the US is not bombing the country.  Nor are US troops on the ground.  The US extends limited “non-combat support” by providing arms, intelligence, and targeting advice.  (In November, the US announced that it would cease in-flight refueling of coalition warplanes.)  Furthermore, Article II’s “Commander in Chief” power gives the president Constitutional authority for these activities.

The UN calls Yemen the “world’s worst humanitarian disaster.”  As many as 85,000 children may have died during the war from starvation and disease, according to the international NGO Save the Children.  Seventeen million Yemenis are at risk of famine.  A Saudi blockade keeps drastically needed…

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