The people of Yemen are witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Thousands have been killed since 2015, millions have been displaced, and the country is projected to face the worst famine in 100 years if airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition do not subside. Estimates released earlier this week approximate that 85,000 Yemeni children have died of starvation since bombing campaigns began over three years ago.
Yemen’s war broke out in earnest in March 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition — supported by the United States — launched airstrikes against Houthi rebels who had seized the capital Sana’a six months earlier. These airstrikes have continued unabated for the past three years, killing thousands of civilians at weddings, markets, funerals, and on school trips.
Many of the bombs used in these campaigns, including the one which killed at least 40 children on a school bus in August, are American-made. The United States has provided extensive support to the Saudi-led coalition since the war began, assisting with intelligence, supplying targeting advice, selling billions of dollars worth of weapons, and refueling mid-air coalition warplanes carrying out airstrikes.
President Trump signed a $110 billion dollar arms deal with the Saudi government last summer and lifted bans on precision-guided munitions, dismissing concerns that the weapons will make targeting civilians even easier. This military assistance, as explicitly stated in 2017 by House Resolution 422, is furthermore unauthorized.
Senate Joint Resolution 54, led by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), aims to end U.S. complicity in this devastating conflict and reclaim congressional authority over matters of war. If enacted, S.J.Res 54 will end American military support for the Saudi-led coalition, meaning that the U.S. would cease mid-air refueling, intelligence sharing, and target selection assistance. These measures could not be resumed without congressional approval.
The U.S. cannot continue to enable brutal airstrikes and mass starvation in Yemen. Our engagement in the war since 2015 has been a grave moral failure, and S.J. Res 54 constitutes a meaningful opportunity to prioritize moral accountability moving forward. We need to speak out for the Yemeni people and encourage Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to do the same.