Washington: The United States Senate on Tuesday sided with President Donald Trump and rejected an effort to force him to end the U.S. military’s support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing operations in Yemen.
Senators voted 55-44 to table the resolution, effectively killing it, according to The New York Times. Moreover, the vote coincided with a White House meeting between Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at which the president lauded US defense sales to Saudi Arabia.
The resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy, required Donald Trump to withdraw any troops in “or affecting” Yemen within 30 days, unless they were fighting Al-Qaeda. “Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world,” The Guardian quoted Donald Trump as saying.
“For far too long, Congress under Democratic and Republican administrations has abdicated its constitutional role in authorizing war,” Sanders said in a speech before the vote.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, had urged lawmakers to abandon the effort, calling it “bad policy” and “procedurally mistaken”. McConnell added that US intelligence provides the Saudis “greater precision in their air campaign”, resulting in fewer civilian casualties.
“Withdrawing US support would increase not decrease the risk of civilian casualties and it would signal that we’re not serious about containing Iran or it’s proxies,” he had said. The third anniversary of the Saudi intervention in Yemen falls in a couple of days, with no sign of peace.
The conflict began in 2014, when the Houthis, Shia rebels from the country’s north, seized the nation’s capital and ousted the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh. In response, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began a bombing campaign in 2015, to restore the exiled government to power. The United States has not formally backed the Saudi coalition, but provided targeted intelligence to the bombing campaign and has assisted with refueling coalition bombers.