In continuing backlash to Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi’s death, the US Senate has opposed Trump’s support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
By Trista Youssef
Trump has threatened to veto the resolution if it passes. If Trump vetoes, the Senate could only override him with 67 votes.
The resolution honors a rarely activated clause from the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives Congress authority to override the president’s deployment of troops during wartime if Congress has not authorized the conflict.
The resolution was prompted by Senate opposition to Saudi Arabia’s killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The murder has increased global scrutiny of the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen.
Trump’s decision to support Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the CIA’s conclusion of the crown prince’s responsibility for Khashoggi murder, met large opposition from US politicians.
“We sent an important message today—that Congress will stand up to Saudi leadership when the Trump administration won’t, and that Saudi Arabia will face consequences for the murder of Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi as well as for the disastrous war in Yemen,” said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine.
The United Nations, international NGOs, and humanitarian organizations have widely condemned the Saudi-led coalition for attacking civilians and failing to compensate victims or provide sufficient aid.
Since the escalation of the Yemen war in early 2015, an estimated 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation. It is also estimated that 85,000 children have died from hunger in the Saudi-Iranian proxy war.
The issue of US involvement is complex, as removing support for the Saudi-led coalition would interfere with the Trump administration’s strategy to contain Iran in the Middle East by keeping a close alliance with Saudi Arabia.
US Senator James Lankford voiced concern that without American guidance, Saudi Arabia’s violent activity in Yemen would escalate. “If we pull out of helping what’s happening, civilian casualties increase in Yemen absolutely,” said Lankford.