Senate blocks Yemen resolution aimed at restricting USA military role


Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd of supporters at a Democratic unity rally at the Rail Event Center on April 21, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the resolution (SJ Res. 54) would have ended the tacit military support-including targeting assistance, refueling, and intelligence sharing-of the Saudi's campaign to wage war on Yemen, a nation now embroiled in a civil war and experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet.

Supporters of the resolution argue that US involvement in the Yemen war is not covered by any existing Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), and therefore requires Congressional approval to continue.

The vote addressing American war powers had aimed to shut down USA military involvement in Yemen within a month unless Congress formally authorized continued involvement.

A Saudi-led coalition, with logistical and intelligence support from Washington is fighting to counter the influence of Iran, an ally of the Houthi militia, which denies any help from Tehran and say it is fighting a revolution against corrupt politicians and Gulf powers in thrall to the West.

Trump produced charts to show the depth of Saudi purchases of USA military hardware, ranging from ships to missile defence to planes and fighting vehicles.

Trump and Prince Mohammed discussed an agreement previous year for $200 billion worth of Saudi investments with the United States, including large purchases of US military equipment. 54 at approximately 4:15 if all debate time on the measure is used.

A vote on the war powers resolution during bin Salman's visit would be awkward for both the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers.

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the chamber's foreign relations committee, said senators had questioned the crown prince closely about Yemen during a meeting with him on Tuesday.

Because of the timing, McConnell and other Republican leaders in the Senate are trying to postpone the resolution until after bin Salman's visit by sending it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Let us work our will in the appropriate way", the Republican Corker told colleagues.

The Trump White House has warned the Saudis that concern in Congress over the humanitarian crisis and civilian casualties in Yemen could constrain United States assistance. Over 10,000 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia started to support the Yemeni government in its fight against Houthi rebels in 2015.

The United Nations has said the conflict has created one of the world's worst manmade humanitarian disasters, as millions of Yemenis have been displaced and the population faces starvation, with aid agencies struggling to supply assistance.

In the Oval Office, Trump and the crown prince lauded the strength of U.S. -Saudi ties, which had grown strained under the Obama administration in part over differing views towards Riyadh's regional rival Iran.

"If Congress wants to go to war in Yemen or any place else, vote to go to war", Sanders said Tuesday.

"As the Saudi crown prince meets with President Trump, we're here to show the cost of this war on children".