Recently, both houses of congress passed a resolution to end military assistance to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. President Trump has threatened to veto the measure, but has only issued one veto so far due to having a Republican controlled congress his first two years in office. As the civil war in Yemen has been a long bloody stalemate, the resolution received support from a bipartisan group including representatives of the house freedom caucus, and more socialist members of Congress like independent Senator, Bernie Sanders.
Following the killing of American based Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Saudi Arabia, the topic came to center stage. The war on Yemen has lasted over five years now, and is estimated to have killed over 60,000 people. AP news reports, “Thousands have been killed in Saudi air strikes on civilian infrastructure, and millions are on the brink of starvation.” Iran backs the Rebels known as the “Houthis” in the civil war, and Saudi Arabia backs the government that had been established at the time of the civil war.
Opponents of the measure would be quick to point out that inflight refueling was halted by the pentagon in November of 2018, so most of the assistance to the Saudi’s is intelligence based. Fearing that Iran to could increase it’s presence, a Pentagon spokeswoman warned that ending U.S. military support could increase Yemen’s problem’s. Just one of the many Republicans opposing the Resolution was Michael McCaul of Texas, saying it could “disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements.”
With high death tolls, specifically civilian casualties, and a civil war with no end in sight the war in Yemen appears to be similar to the Vietnam war. Only this time, U.S. officials gave other nations the guns to do the fighting instead of sending thousands of Americans overseas to die. According to the center for International Policy, U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia numbered over $4.5 billion for 2018. Some reports show that weapons sold to Saudi Arabia found their way into the hands of Al-Qaida associated militants. Democratic congressman Ro Khanna is “hopeful” that Trump will sign the bill, and has suggested that a bipartisan group of lawmakers meet with president Trump in an attempt to convince him that the issue is “a humanitarian issue, not a political issue.”