Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) led 37 other House Democrats in a letter that calls on President Biden to support the diplomatic progress in Yemen by declaring the US will not provide military support to the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict.
In a major diplomatic breakthrough, the Saudis and the Houthis recently held talks in Sanaa, but a peace deal has yet to be reached. Amid the negotiations, US officials traveled to Saudi Arabia and, according to Axios, “underscored the US support for Saudi Arabia’s defense against threats from Yemen,” signaling the Biden administration is ready to support Riyadh if the war flares up again.
The House Democrats on Biden and his administration to “clearly and publicly state that the United States will not provide any further support in any form to any faction party to the conflict while diplomatic talks to end the war are ongoing and should they fail to reach a diplomatic settlement and return to armed hostilities.”
There have been no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen since March 2022 and no Houthis attacks inside Saudi Arabia. But as long as no formal peace deal is signed, an escalation is always possible. The letter said the lawmakers were ready to introduce legislation to prevent further US complicity in the Saudi war on Yemen if hostilities resume, including a War Powers Resolution.
Last year, a War Powers Resolution was introduced in both the House and Senate to end US support for the war in Yemen that received strong bipartisan support. But the White House successfully lobbied against the bill and convinced Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) not to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote.
The Democrats also want a complete lifting of the blockade on Yemen, which has long been a Houthi precondition for negotiations toward a political settlement. The letter says Biden should “clearly and publicly state that the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports — a form of collective punishment against innocent Yemenis — must be lifted unconditionally, as global international humanitarian leaders have long sought.”
Since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 with full US support, at least 377,000 people have been killed in the war. More than half died due to starvation and disease that was caused by the blockade and the coalition’s brutal bombing campaign.