Just days after the United Nations declared that Yemen faces the world's largest famine in decades "with millions of victims," the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution explicitly stating U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its invasion of Yemen is unauthorized under legislation passed by Congress.
While the resolution passed with broad bipartisan support, 366-30, it is expected to yield no practical results as it is nonbinding. It does, however, publicly acknowledge America's role in helping to create what has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
Around 7 million people are on the brink of famine in Yemen, which is already struggling amid the world’s worst cholera outbreak, as vital aid dried up, thanks to Saudi Arabia's tightening of its blockade. Hundreds of thousands of children in the country are suffering from severe malnutrition.
While Saudi Arabia is primarily responsible for the disastrous invasion, an airstrike campaign that began in March 2015 against suspected Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the United States has played a key military role to help the Gulf kingdom.
Besides the fact that the Pentagon shares military intelligence with Riyadh, the U.S. also refuels warplanes that Saudi Arabia and other allies are using to carry out attacks against Houthi rebels.
American involvement in Yemen might continue under the Trump administration but it was former U.S. President Barack Obama who approved it, citing the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as justification.
However, to date, the AUMF was used as justification to involved the U.S. in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, to fight against al-Qaeda militants — not Houthi rebels.
The U.S. and the United Kingdom have also been supplying weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen of using indiscriminate U.S.-made cluster bombs. In fact, the Independent revealed this week "the number of British-made bombs and missiles sold to Saudi Arabia since the start of its bloody campaign in Yemen has risen by almost 500 percent, The Independent can reveal."
The U.N. estimates at least 10,000 civilians have been killed since 2015 in Yemen. Meanwhile, some half a million people have contracted cholera because of the lack of basic necessities, including more than 2,000 who have died of the disease.
Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad