Defying Trump, Senate votes to end US support for Yemen war

Defying Trump, Senate votes to end US support for Yemen war

Defying Trump, Senate votes to end US support for Yemen war

The Senate voted Wednesday to order President Trump to end military assistance for a Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, dealing at least a symbolic blow to the White House's foreign policy. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., right, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, on a reintroduction of a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. "We need cooperation from Yemen, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to defeat these terrorists".

Trump's support for Saudi Arabia has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of USA -based activist and writer Jamal Khashoggi a year ago. Although Congress doesn't have a veto-proof majority, Sanders capitalized on the anti-Saudi sentiment sweeping Capitol Hill to secure seven Republican votes for his resolution.

No presidential military commitment has ever been ended by vote of Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

Passage of theresolutioncomes as the Saudis continue to launch deadly airstrikes in Yemen with US backing, worsening a crisis that has already resulted in mass suffering andtens of thousands of deaths.

Many lawmakers have taken issue with the number of civilian deaths in Yemen's conflict and have been calling for an end of U.S. military support ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October.

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Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., defended US involvement, describing it as "intelligence support that helps construct no strike lists that enable humanitarian efforts and protect humanitarian aid workers", and "not the tip of the spear".

Many lawmakers also want to push Trump to demand a stronger response from the Saudi government to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October. However, the White House has stated that if the resolution were to land on US President Donald Trump's desk, he would veto it.

Trump has held back on criticizing Saudi Arabia, calling them an important strategic ally and counterbalance to Iran in the region.

Romney said while he has concerns about Saudi Arabia's recent behavior, particularly the murder of Khashoggi, ending support would undermine USA allies and security interests in the region by emboldening Iran, hampering counterterrorism efforts, and potentially worsening the humanitarian crisis.

"Peace envoys are telling us they want deeper USA engagement in this situation", Risch said in a statement following the vote.

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The Trump administration also said it would "establish bad precedent for future legislation by defining "hostilities" to include defence co-operation such as aerial refuelling for the purposes of this legislation".

"The United States should end its involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has resulted in widespread starvation, disease, and death", Blumenthal said.

In a Senate floor speech ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged his colleagues to oppose the resolution, which he said would limit US leverage to end the conflict and pressure to help Saudi pilots avoid civilian casualties.

This decisive vote will end "the American facilitation of the Yemen war and the world's largest humanitarian crises".

Lawmakers in the 100-member chamber passed the document with 54 votes in favor and 46 against.

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A similar resolution to end support for the Yemen war passed the Senate in December, but it was not taken up by the then Republican-controlled House.

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