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ACTION ALERT: End the US-backed War on Yemen


October 5, 2017
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Daniel Larison / The American Conservative & Dan De Luce / Foreign Policy

A confidential draft of the latest UN blacklist on child victims of armed conflict included Saudi Arabia and its coalition related to the large number of children they've killed and maimed in the war in Yemen. The report confirmed that Saudi actions "objectively led to" 683 child casualties, including attacks on both schools and hospitals within Yemen in the course of 2016." A new bipartisan resolution that seeks to stop US military participation in Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis in Yemen.

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/10/03/saudi-coalition-on-un-blacklist-for-killing-yemeni-children/

Saudis Have Been Killing and
Maiming Children Across Yemen

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(October 3, 2017) – According to Reuters, a confidential draft of the latest UN blacklist on child victims of armed conflict included Saudi Arabia and its coalition related to the large number of children they've killed and maimed in the war in Yemen.

The report confirmed that Saudi actions "objectively led to" 683 child casualties, and 38 verified incidents, including attacks on both schools and hospitals within Yemen in the course of 2016. The draft's Yemen section includes the Saudi coalition, al-Qaeda, pro-government militias, and the Shi'ite Houthi movement, though the coalition was by far responsible for the most casualties.

Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in early 2015, with a coalition that includes Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Senegal, Sudan, and the United States. US involvement has included targeting support for Saudi warplanes, in-air refueling for Saudi bombers, and naval participation in the blockade of Yemen.

According to Reuters, a confidential draft of the latest UN blacklist on child victims of armed conflict included Saudi Arabia and its coalition related to the large number of children they've killed and maimed in the war in Yemen.

The report confirmed that Saudi actions "objectively led to" 683 child casualties, and 38 verified incidents, including attacks on both schools and hospitals within Yemen in the course of 2016. The draft's Yemen section includes the Saudi coalition, al-Qaeda, pro-government militias, and the Shi'ite Houthi movement, though the coalition was by far responsible for the most casualties.

The report on child casualties is distinct from a UN Security Council report making the rounds back in August, which confirmed 502 children killed in the Saudi war in the past year.

The "name-and-shame" blacklist on children's rights violation is released annually by the United Nations. Saudi Arabia and its coalition were also included on the list last year upon release.

That list, released in early June of 2016, only lasted a couple of days before the UN announced it was "temporarily" removing the Saudis because the Saudi government was complaining. Despite the removal being done pending review, there's no sign serious review ever happened, and the Saudis insisted that there would be no mechanism for adding them back to the list.

This year's report is due to be submitted to the UN Security Council this month, and it's likely to be the latest in a long line of reports related to the Yemen War that the Saudis will be desperately trying to bury. As with a recent effort by the UN General Assembly to investigate war crimes in Yemen, the Saudis have tended to get their way, presenting moves that bury the worst of the war's excesses as "compromise" resolutions.

Saudi Arabia and its coalition were also included on the list last year upon release.

That list, released in early June of 2016, only lasted a couple of days before the UN announced it was "temporarily" removing the Saudis because the Saudi government was complaining. Despite the removal being done pending review, there's no sign serious review ever happened, and the Saudis insisted that there would be no mechanism for adding them back to the list.

This year's report is due to be submitted to the UN Security Council this month, and it's likely to be the latest in a long line of reports related to the Yemen War that the Saudis will be desperately trying to bury.

As with a recent effort by the UN General Assembly to investigate war crimes in Yemen, the Saudis have tended to get their way, presenting moves that bury the worst of the war's excesses as "compromise" resolutions.



The House Should Vote to End the US Role in the War on Yemen
Daniel Larison / The American Conservative

(October 3, 2017) -- Rep. Ro Khanna issued a press release on the resolution that he is co-sponsoring with three other House members that would end US involvement in the war on Yemen:

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced a bipartisan resolution that seeks to stop US military participation in Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis in Yemen. This is an entirely separate war from the fight against Al Qaeda, yet Congress has never authorized it. By invoking the War Powers resolution, these members want a congressional vote to officially withdraw US forces from this unauthorized conflict.

At the very least, this resolution will force members in the House to debate what the US has been helping the Saudi-led coalition do to Yemen, and it will put them all on record regarding their willingness to enable an atrocious war against a country whose people have done nothing to us. If the resolution passes, that would bring greater attention to the disgraceful policy that the Obama and Trump administrations have been conducting.

It is an important first step in reasserting Congress' role in matters of war and in trying to end US involvement in a shameful war that our government should never have joined.

Zaid Jilani reports that the resolution, H. Con. Res. 81, is guaranteed to be brought up for a vote no matter what the leadership wants. He cites Kate Kizer of the Yemen Peace Project:

"H.Con.Res.81 is privileged under the War Powers Act of 1973, meaning it's guaranteed a vote and doesn't have to have the blessing of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rules Committee, or leadership, who would normally block these things from getting to the floor because they don't want to debate war," Kate Kizer, director of policy and advocacy for the Yemen Peace Project, told The Intercept. "It will sit with the Foreign Affairs Committee for 15 calendar days and will then be discharged for consideration by the full House. At that point, any member of Congress can call the resolution up for a debate and floor vote."

House members should vote for this resolution for several reasons. US involvement in the Saudi-led war serves no national security interests, and it has nothing to do with combating threats to the US or our allies. On the contrary, since the war began in March 2015 it has greatly strengthened Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the local ISIS affiliate, and as such it has harmed US security interests.

The war has destabilized the region and devastated Yemen, and our enabling role has made us the enemy of tens of millions of innocent civilians that have never done a thing to us. Worst of all, the war has created conditions for widespread famine and malnutrition that threaten the lives of millions, and it is responsible for creating conditions for the worst modern cholera outbreak on record that may spread to as many as one million people before year's end.

The governments that the US has been helping do all this are all despotic regimes that have been waging this war for the bad cause of reinstalling a puppet ruler who has virtually no support in his own country, and in the process the US has been aiding and abetting the coalition in the repeated and ongoing commission of war crimes.

In short, the war is an indefensible horror that is also undermining our interests, and the US should have no part in it. The administration could put an end to this disgrace right away, but since it will not it needs to be pressured to do so, and Congress is the only institution that can possibly rein in a destructive policy like this one.


Lawmakers Demand US Withdrawal
From Saudi-Led War in Yemen

Bipartisan bill proposes halting military assistance
to air war in Yemen unless Congress votes on US role

Dan De Luce / Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON, DC (September 28, 2017) -- Four lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would halt US military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen on grounds that Congress has never approved the American role in the war.

Two House Republicans and two Democrats submitted the bill on Wednesday evening, but other lawmakers have already conveyed their support for the measure, congressional aides told Foreign Policy.

The bill requires "the removal" of US forces from the war in Yemen unless and until Congress votes to authorize the American assistance. For more than two years, the United States military has provided aerial refueling tankers and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition waging war against Houthi rebels backed by Iran.

"We aim to restore Congress as the constitutionally mandated branch of government that may declare war and retain oversight over it," two sponsors, Democrats Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, wrote in a letter to colleagues that was obtained by FP.

Although the bipartisan bill is unlikely to secure a majority in the House, it underscores growing concerns over Saudi Arabia's handling of the war that is now at a stalemate on the battlefield. And it reflects growing unease at Congress over the US role there, following previous attempts by lawmakers this year to rein in arms sales or other military assistance to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and their Gulf partners backing the Yemeni government.

Both Republicans and Democrats have accused the Gulf coalition of delaying or blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and criticized the Saudi-led states for bombing raids that have hit schools and hospitals and killed and wounded large numbers of civilians.

As a result of the war, more than 7 million people are on the verge of starvation in Yemen, United Nations officials say, and the country faces an unprecedented cholera outbreak that has spread at an alarming rate in only seven months.

"It's beyond time for the country to stop conducting refueling for missions over Yemen," Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told FP in an email.

"Congress and the American people know too little about the role we are playing in a war that is causing suffering for millions of people and is a genuine threat to our national security," he said.

The two Republican co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, are both conservatives who have called for upholding Congress's constitutional authority to declare war.

Pocan, the Wisconsin Democrat, said it was time for Congress to end the US role in "this senseless, unauthorized conflict. "

The authors of the bill also argued that assistance to the coalition bombing in Yemen was harming US security interests by creating conditions that enabled al Qaeda and Islamic State to bolster their presence in the country.

The proposed legislation will help "in reducing a genuine threat to national security posed by the expansion of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and promises to assist in ending the senseless suffering of millions of innocent people in Yemen," according to the text of the bill.

The bill cites a 2016 State Department report on terrorism in Yemen, which found that al Qaeda and Islamic State militants have benefited from the country's "security vacuum" and exploited sectarian tensions between the Sunni Yemeni government and the Shiite Houthi rebels.

The bill does not seek to end US counterterrorism operations -- including drone strikes -- against al Qaeda or Islamic State branches in Yemen, which date back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The Saudi-led coalition launched its air war in Yemen in March 2015 after Houthi rebels backed by Tehran ousted the government led by president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Anxious over its image, Saudi Arabia has invested in an extensive public relations effort in Washington to counter criticism of the air war in Yemen and its obstruction of humanitarian aid deliveries to Sanaa airport and the country's main port in Hodeida.

Riyadh has argued that it had to intervene to defend itself against Iranian-backed and armed Houthi rebels who have fired rockets across its border. And it accuses Houthi forces of diverting aid from the Hodeida port, though international relief organizations have not confirmed those allegations.

The Saudi-led coalition has come under intense scrutiny in Congress over its refusal since January to permit the delivery of four cranes financed by the US Agency for International Development to the port of Hodeida. The World Food Programme and other aid groups say the cranes are crucial for unloading emergency food and medical supplies from ships arriving at the port amid a mounting humanitarian catastrophe.

The blockade on the cranes violates international law and the Geneva Conventions, human rights groups say. And by continuing to provide military assistance to the coalition, the United States could be violating US law, according to a legal opinion from the American Bar Association's Center for Human Rights.

The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits aid to governments that directly or indirectly block the transport of US humanitarian assistance, unless the president certifies to Congress that it is in the security interests of the United States, it said.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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