Peace is Possible   Peace Is Possible    8 September 2019

Whoever would love life and see good days…. must seek peace and pursue it.   I Peter 3:10,11

End US Involvement in Yemen’s War

        Timothy McHugh and others, FCNL                                      3 Sept ‘19

US involvement in Yemen has long been public knowledge. The US has been providing military support to the Saudi-led coalition for years in the form of arms sales and logistical support.  But a pair of recent developments bring devastating clarity to the situation.  On September 1,

the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that more than 100 civilians were killed when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a detention center in the Yemini city of Dhamar.  Then on September 3, a team of UN investigators released their conclusion that all parties backing the Saudi coalition, including the US, bear responsibility for what has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. 

Also on September 3, a coalition of over 60 organizations (including FCNL) from across the political spectrum delivered a letter to congressional leaders urging that they end all US support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their war against the Houthis in Yemen.

 Congress has a moral obligation to end US involvement in the Saudi and Emirati-led intervention in the civil war in Yemen, which has claimed the lives of 85,000 children,” said Diane Randall, FCNL executive secretary.  “House and Senate negotiators must do all they can to end US complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

 “Conditions for most people in Yemen are getting worse, not better,” noted UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock in July. “The fighting rages on, with coalition aerial bombings continuing in cities across Yemen.  Since June, 120,000 more people have fled their homes, bringing total displacement this year to more than 300,000.” 500,000 cases of cholera have been reported this year.  Eighty percent of the population —over 24 million people—needs assistance and protection, while 10 million rely on food aid to survive. “The death toll will surely grow.”

 Earlier this year, both the House and the Senate passed resolutions to enforce the 1973 War Powers Act in order to end US military participation, including arms sales, in the Saudi/UAE-led war in Yemen.  Donald Trump promptly vetoed all those measures.

 In mid-September, Congress will return to Washington and almost immediately begin debating the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), due for passage by September 30 and considered a must- pass bill for the Pentagon.  Among the provisions they will consider is the Khanna-Smith-Schiff-Jayapal Amendment 26, which would end all unauthorized US logistical and intelligence-sharing participation in the Yemeni conflict.  Amendment 438 would impose a one-year ban on air-to- ground munitions sales, transfers, and licenses to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and could also block the “emergency” sale of new air-to-ground munitions from being delivered to coalition countries.  The Lieu-Gabbard Amendment 23 would prohibit the US Special Defense Acquisition Fund from providing spare parts and munitions transfers to Saudi Arabia if they could be used in the ongoing war in Yemen.  This amendment com- plements and strengthens the enforcement of Amendments 26 and 438.

It is long past time to end US involvement in Yemen’s catastrophe.  With the “power of the purse,” Congress has significant leverage for ending the suffering.  Please urge your members of Congress to insist that their leaders do everything possible to ensure that Amendments 26, 438, and 23 remain in the final 2020 NDAA.


 Sample Letter


Sen. Todd Young    400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.    Washington, DC  20510


Sen. Mike Braun    B85 Russell Senate Off. Bldg.     Washington, DC  20510


Rep. Greg Pence         222 Cannon HOB         Washington, DC  20515



Sen. ______________, Rep. Pence:

I am writing to urge you to insist that your leaders in Congress do everything in their power to ensure that Amendments 26, 438, and 23 remain in the final FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act that you will be debating and passing in the next few weeks.  Using Congress’ power of the purse, those amendments can help end US complicity and participation in the Saudi-UAE war against Yemen, which has caused the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for far too long.

 Amendments 26, 438, and 23 would end all US logistical and intelligence- sharing participation in the Yemen conflict, impose a one-year ban on munitions sales, transfers, and licenses to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and prevent the US Special Defense Acquisition Fund from transferring spare parts or munitions to the combatants. 

By denying funding for continued US participation in the Yemen war, Congress also can take back its rightful constitutional power to decide when and where the US goes to war, a power for too long usurped by the executive branch.

 Please help Congress to end US participation and complicity in Yemen’s tragedy, or explain to me why you will not do so.