Yemen’s Warring Factions Split on US Senate’s Vote to Get Out of War

Houthis say US involvement is just prolonging the Saudi invasion

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 54-46 in favor of ending US military involvement in Yemen, on the grounds that there was never a Congressional authorization for the US to be involved in the first place.

The warring factions within Yemen, unsurprisingly had a split reaction to the news, and to the prospect that the United States might not continue to play a part. The Shi’ite Houthi movement embraced the move, saying US involvement in arming and assisting the Saudis had already prolonged the war.

Yemen’s Saudi-backed government tried to mirror the narrative of Senators who opposed the bill, arguing it would “embolden Iran” for the US to exit Yemen. Iran, of course, is not directly involved in the Yemen War.

But because the Houthis are Shi’ites, and Iran is Shi’ite, even though they’re two distinct types of Shi’ites with little history of interaction, the Saudis have positioned the Houthis as effectively Iran in the narrative, both to sell the war domestically, and within the US, where most politicians are hostile to Iran as a matter of course.

During Wednesday’s debate ahead of the Senate vote, talking points among the opponents were generally that leaving Yemen would be bad for Israel and good for Iran. Even if neither nation is involved in the war, it seems even Yemen’s government is going to try to sell the myth that they are in hopes of encouraging a veto of the Senate bill.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.