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Senate votes to end USA support of Saudi-led Yemen war

15 Марта 2019

The Senate passed a resolution Wednesday calling for an end to the United States' involvement in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., right, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, on a reintroduction of a resolution to end USA support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

A Yemeni soldier is pictured near a poster portraying Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Yemen's President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi outside a hospital renovated by Saudi Arabia in Aden, Yemen December 13, 2018.

The measure seeks to end any USA military involvement in the conflict in Yemen, including providing targeting support for Saudi air strikes, without authorization from Congress.

However, the White House has signaled the president's intention to veto the resolution.

No presidential military commitment has ever been ended by vote of Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

Meanwhile, revelations that interests connected with the Trump administration were in negotiations to sell the Saudis nuclear technology have shed new light on the president's cozy relationship with the embattled kingdom.

Many lawmakers have taken issue with the number of civilian deaths in Yemen's conflict and have been calling for an end of United States military support ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October. Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana.

"We should not use this specific vote on a specific policy decision as some proxy for all the Senate's broad feelings about foreign affairs".

The vote was 54-46 in the Senate, more than the 51 needed to pass in the 100-member Senate, as seven Republicans joined Democrats in backing the measure. Next, it will move to the Democratic-controlled House, where it is expected to pass.

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Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition helping Yemen fight Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

"The United States should end its involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has resulted in widespread starvation, disease, and death", Blumenthal said.

The U.S. has provided refueling for Saudi coalition aircraft, but that ended past year after the Saudi regime was implicated in the murder of one of its citizens, journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"By defining "hostilities" to include defense cooperation such as aerial refueling", the statement said, the Yemen resolution could also "establish bad precedent for future legislation".

Many lawmakers also want to push Trump to demand a stronger response from the Saudi government to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October.

In a Senate floor speech ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged his colleagues to oppose the resolution, which he said would limit USA leverage to end the conflict and pressure to help Saudi pilots avoid civilian casualties.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also voted for the resolution.

"Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending USA involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional", Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2020 and is a sponsor of the measure, said on the Senate floor. It now goes to the House, where a similar measure stalled earlier this year.

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Senate votes to end USA support of Saudi-led Yemen war