WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday voted to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, an outcome Senator Chris Murphy has sought for more than a year. It also voted unanimously to blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“With this vote, Saudi Arabia just lost the support of Congress for their disastrous war in Yemen. A bipartisan majority spoke with one voice that the status quo is over and we will no longer accept the war crimes being committed in our name,” Murphy said in a statement after the bipartisan resolution was approved.
However, the resolution will not be taken up in the House during the remaining days of the 115th session. On Wednesday, House Republican leaders inserted a provision in a rule overseeing debate of the farm bill that effectively excluded the Yemen resolution from being considered this year. The vote on that debate rule was approved largely along party lines, 206-203.
Still, Murphy was pumped up by the 56-41 Senate vote, saying that momentum is on the side of ending U.S. involvement in a war that he — and the United Nations — say has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
“Congress has woken up to the reality that the Saudi-led Coalition is using U.S. military support to kill thousands of civilians, bomb hospitals, block humanitarian aid, and arm radical militias. The Saudis are important partners, but they need to realize that our partnership is not a blank check for them to fund extremists and murder civilians,” Murphy said.
The vote marked the first time in history that Congress has turned to the War Powers Resolution on such a matter. The Senate also voted unanimously to condemn Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for the killing of the journalist, Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October. The death of the Saudi journalist, who at the time was living in the United States and working for the Washington Post, had Murphy stepping up his calls for the suspension of military support for the Saudi-led campaign.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also issued a press statement after Thursday’s vote saying a re-evaluation of the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia is “long overdue” given the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the murder of Khashoggi and the Saudi government’s role in “perpetrating the 9/11 attacks.”
“Very simply, the United States should not be funding this war. We should not be supporting this war. We should not be providing intelligence or logistics support. We should not be complicit in the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in Yemen, the murder of children, and the famine and humanitarian crisis that are ongoing right now,” he said.