A progressive House Democrat is hopeful that the incoming Biden administration will prioritize ending the war in Yemen, one of the worst atrocities being committed in the world today.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) told The Daily Beast that he felt confident in the incoming administration’s Yemen policy after speaking with several senior Biden advisors.
“I am very encouraged by the moral seriousness with which they are approaching the situation in Yemen, and I have confidence that Secretary-designate [Anthony] Blinken will make this one of his top priorities, to end the war,” Khanna said. “That means no logistical support, no intelligence support, and no military support for the Saudis in the war in Yemen.”
Since 2015, the US has supported the Saudi-led coalition in its war against Yemen’s Houthis. Throughout the war, US-trained Saudi pilots have regularly bombed civilian infrastructure using US-made bombs. Along with the air campaign, the US Navy has helped enforce a blockade on Yemen. The siege tactics have caused widespread disease, malnutrition, and mass starvation.
Khanna has been a leading figure in Congress’ effort to end US support for the war. Congress passed a War Powers Resolution in 2019 that called for an end to US support for the conflict that was vetoed by President Trump. The president also vetoed resolutions that would have banned US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“We are going to introduce a new War Powers Resolution,” Khanna said. “It’s important that the parties see that the United States Congress and the Executive Branch are all acting in concert to bring the conflict to an end.”
In November, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a Yemen War Powers Resolution that was co-sponsored by seven other members of the House, including three Republicans. Since a new Congress was sworn in on January 3rd, all pending legislation expired, so DeFazio’s resolution will have to be reintroduced, but his bill was a hopeful sign that a future effort to end the war will receive bipartisan support.
While Biden has said he plans to end support for the war in Yemen, it was Obama administration officials, including Blinken, who supported the Saudis intervention in the first place. Shortly after the war began in 2015, Blinken, who was deputy secretary of state at the time, announced the US was expediting arms sales and bolstering intelligence sharing to Saudi Arabia to help their efforts against the Houthis.