The U.S. must stop enabling the war in Yemen

We stand with more than 100 organizations in opposing U.S. involvement in Yemen. Going into its eighth year, this war has resulted in the deaths of nearly half a million people. The situation is deeply complex, but we firmly believe that Congress must assert it's Article I war powers to terminate U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade, and do everything it can to support the Yemen truce. Read more from our full letter to Congress below.

 

Dear Members of Congress,


We, the undersigned 105 organizations, welcome news that Yemen's warring parties have agreed to a two-month nationwide truce, to halt military operations, lift fuel restrictions, and open Sana’a airport to commercial traffic. In an effort to strengthen this truce and further incentivize Saudi Arabia to stay at the negotiating table, we urge you to cosponsor and publicly support Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio’s forthcoming War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen.


March 26th, 2022, marked the start of the eighth year of the Saudi-led war and blockade on Yemen, which has helped cause the deaths of nearly half a million people and pushed millions more to the edge of starvation. With continued U.S. military support, Saudi Arabia escalated its campaign of collective punishment on the people of Yemen in recent months, making the start of 2022 one of the deadliest time periods of the war. Earlier this year, Saudi airstrikes targeting a migrant detention facility and vital communications infrastructure killed at least 90 civilians, wounded over 200, and triggered a nationwide internet blackout.


While we condemn Houthi violations, after seven years of direct and indirect involvement in the Yemen war, the United States must cease supplying weapons, spare parts, maintenance services, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia to ensure the temporary truce is adhered to and hopefully, extended into a lasting peace agreement.


The truce has had a positive impact on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, but UN officials warn that millions are still in need of urgent assistance. In Yemen today, roughly 20.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid for survival, with up to 19 million Yemenis acutely food insecure. A new report indicates that 2.2 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition over the course of 2022 and could perish without urgent treatment.


The war in Ukraine has only exacerbated the humanitarian conditions in Yemen by making food even more scarce. Yemen imports over 27% of its wheat from Ukraine and 8% from Russia. The UN reported that Yemen could see its famine numbers increase “five-fold” in the second half of 2022 as a result of wheat import shortages.


According to reports from UNFPA and the Yemeni Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, the conflict has had especially devastating consequences for Yemeni women and children. A woman dies every two hours from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and for every woman who dies in childbirth, another 20 suffer preventable injuries, infections, and permanent disabilities.


In February 2021, President Biden announced an end to U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen. Yet the United States continues to provide spare parts, maintenance, and logistical support for Saudi warplanes. The administration also never defined what “offensive” and “defensive” support constituted, and it has since approved over a billion dollars in arms sales, including new attack helicopters and air-to-air missiles. This support sends a message of impunity to the Saudi-led coalition for its bombardment and siege of Yemen.


Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio recently announced their plans to introduce and pass a new Yemen War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s brutal military campaign. This is more essential than ever to maintain momentum for the fragile two-month truce and to prevent backsliding by blocking U.S. support for any renewed hostilities. The lawmakers wrote, “As a candidate, President Biden pledged to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen while many who now serve as senior officials in his administration repeatedly called for shutting down precisely the activities the U.S. is engaged in that enable Saudi Arabia’s brutal offensive. We call on them to follow through on their commitment.”


Congress must reassert its Article I war powers, terminate U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade, and do everything it can to support the Yemen truce. Our organizations look forward to the introduction of the Yemen War Powers Resolution. We urge all members of Congress to say “no” to Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression by fully ending all U.S. support for a conflict that has caused such immense bloodshed and human suffering.