House passes resolution to withdraw US support in Yemen

WASHINGTON (AA): The House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday to end American support for the war in Yemen, offering another rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

The measure passed by a 247-175 vote with bipartisan support but is likely to be vetoed by Trump.

“Even if [Trump] doesn’t sign it, it’s still an extraordinary statement. And there are steps that his administration can take to put pressure on the Saudis to lift the blockade,” Congressman Ro Khanna said at a press conference following the vote.

The Saudi blockade on Yemen has stopped medicine and other humanitarian supplies from entering the country.

The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate, co-sponsored by presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, invoking the War Powers resolution, a federal law that gives Congress the power to check the president when committing the U.S. to an armed conflict.

The resolution will be sent to Trump’s desk, and it will be the first time in U.S. history that a president will be presented with such a resolution.

The House passed a similar resolution on Yemen in February but it was not able to reach the Senate due to a procedural issue.

“Today we took a clear stand against war and famine and for Congress’ war powers by voting to end our complicity in the war in Yemen,” Sanders said on Twitter. “This is just the beginning of a national debate over when and where we go to war and Congress’ authority over those interventions.”

A similar resolution previously passed in the previous Senate session in December, serving as a rebuke to Trump for his continued support for the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition against Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014.

The campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.

The bill also served as a sharp criticism of the Trump administration’s stance on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, but following a rising number of contradictions in its narrative sought to blame the journalist’s death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.

That explanation fell flat for many, including congressional leaders, who insist Khashoggi’s high-profile murder could not have been carried out without Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s blessing, especially after the CIA reportedly determined with high confidence in November that bin Salman ordered the killing.