Senate to withdraw military aid to Saudi in Yemen War
It is a big setback for President Trump, although he still has the possibility of a veto. The Senate has adopted a resolution for ending American support to the war in Yemen. The broad support for this shows the great dissatisfaction about the Saudi role in the war and the involvement of Riyadh in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The resolution, barely supported at the beginning of this year, was adopted on Wednesday by 63 against 37 votes by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. That worked because many Republicans also supported it now. Trump had sent Ministers Pompeo (Foreign Affairs) and Mattis (Defense) to the Senate to discourage the resolution. Earlier, the White House had said that it was absolutely against the proposal.
Possibly next week the entire Senate will vote on the resolution. It states that within 30 days the US must end their support for the Saudi Arabian-led military campaign in Yemen. If she is accepted, Trump can still hit her with a veto.
The surprising outcome of the vote shows that many Republicans are willing to punish Riyadh, America’s greatest Arab ally. It was indicative that a major pillar of Trump in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, voted for.
The many civilian deaths in Saudi Arabia-led bombardments in Yemen and the death of Khashoggi have put a lot of bad blood in Congress. “The US Senate must show Saudi Arabia and the world that we will no longer be part of this humanitarian disaster,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the three initiators of the resolution.
But also Trump’s unwillingness to allow the Saudis to pay for killing the critical journalist, in particular crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, encounters growing resistance from the parliamentarians.
When Pompeo and Mattis refused to appoint Bin Salman as the sponsor of the murder during a closed meeting, the dissatisfaction among the senators only increased. According to a CIA report, about which Trump was informed last week, according to US officials, the assignment for the liquidation of the crown prince came.
But Pompeo said in the Senate that there was “no direct information” stating that the crown prince was the evil genius. Mattis told the senators that the US is ‘not a smoking gun’ that Bin Salman is behind the liquidation. The senators were also angry that CIA director Haspel had not come along to answer questions.
After more and more reports had come out that the White House did not want Haspel to say what is in the CIA analysis, a spokesman for the intelligence service was forced to deny this. Graham and other senators said they want to hear Haspel soon. Trump said last week that the CIA had ‘certain thoughts’ about Bin Salman’s involvement, but did not firmly conclude that he had ordered Khashoggi to be killed.
The US provides the Saudis with, among other things, weapons and intelligence in the Yemen War. Until recently, the Americans also refueled the Saudi warplanes in the air, but this has been stopped. Pompeo said that the resolution comes at a ‘very bad time’, given the peace talks that are to begin in Sweden next week.
“It encourages the Houthis,” he said about the rebels in Yemen, which are being bombed by the Saudis and their allies in the Gulf region. “It would encourage the Iranians.” Iran supports the Houthis in their fight against the pro-Western government of Yemen.