Senate votes to end US support of war in Yemen
Washington, March 14 (IANS) The US Republican-led Senate has voted to end Washington’s support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen in a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s continued backing of the Kingdom monarchy despite growing frustration among lawmakers with its actions on the world stage.
The bipartisan vote on Wednesday was 54 to 46 and marked the second time in months when the Senate rejected the US’ continued participation in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, waged in the name of holding back Iran’s expansion in the region, the Washington Post reported.
In December, the bill on pulling US forces from the military conflict was stalled in the then Republican-led Congress.
The Saudi-led war, which at times targeted civilian facilities and prevented aid shipments from getting to Yemenis, had been faulted by human rights organizations for exacerbating what the UN called the world’s "worst humanitarian catastrophe".
The Senate resolution, an unprecedented attempt to curtail presidential powers, sought to end the US military involvement in the conflict within 30 days. Trump has vowed to veto the resolution if it passed through the Democrat-led House.
"We should not be associated with a bombing campaign that the UN tells us is likely a gross violation of human rights," Senator Chris Murphy said on the Senate floor.
The war in Yemen started in 2015 and has left thousands of Yemenis dead and millions more starving.
The US sells weapons used by the Saudis and its military provides logistical and intelligence support to the coalition for drone strikes.
Many US lawmakers have taken issue with the number of civilian deaths in Yemen’s conflict and have been calling for an end of US military support ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October.
The Senate earlier blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the death of the journalist and expressed concerns over Trump’s lax response on the issue.
Trump has described Saudi Arabia as a vital ally and resisted calls for sanctions against the Kingdom’s leadership over the killing.
Wednesday’s resolution will be considered in the now Democrat-led House of Representatives.