Senators Urge Biden to Pressure Saudis to Lift Blockade That Is Starving Yemen

Conditions are so dire in Yemen that the UN warned 400,000 children will starve to death this year if nothing changes

A group of Democratic senators sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to pressure Saudi Arabia into lifting the blockade on Yemen, which is still being enforced despite UN warnings that 400,000 Yemeni children under five will starve to death this year if conditions do not change.

“Immediate and decisive action must be taken to end the ongoing blockade of fuel imports that is exacerbating the growing humanitarian crisis,” 16 senators wrote to Biden, an effort that was led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “The United States has diplomatic and economic leverage to compel Saudi Arabia to end its callous blockade of Yemen and we must use it before more lives are needlessly lost.”

The senators pointed out the US-backed Saudi-led coalitions’ history of bombing food infrastructure. “Targeted bombings of farms, fishing boats, ports, and other businesses at the outset of the conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have caused food shortages for millions of Yemenis,” the letter reads.

The letter addressed positive steps President Biden has taken, like reversing the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization. “These are welcome steps, but we must now address the serious harm caused by ongoing blockade tactics.”

The Biden administration has been giving Riyadh the diplomatic cover to continue the siege of Yemen, even claiming that preventing ships from docking in the port of Hodeidah is “not a blockade.”

The senators wrote: “While your administration maintains that ‘[this] is not a blockade,’ Saudi action is undoubtedly preventing much-needed fuel from reaching those in need and is exacerbating an already grave humanitarian crisis; the United States must work to put an end to it.”

Besides failing to lift the blockade that is doing nothing but starving innocent Yemenis, President Biden has not lived up to his promise to end “offensive” support for the war. At the end of April,¬†the Pentagon finally admitted¬†that it was still servicing Saudi warplanes that continue to bomb Yemen. Without this support, the Saudi Air Force would quickly be grounded.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.