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Trump & May blocked Hodeida ceasefire. War powers will force Congress to vote

Robert Naiman---Just Foreign Policy

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Sweden asked the UN Security Council to stop the Saudi-UAE assault on Yemen’s crucial port of Hodeida by ordering a cease-fire. But Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May blocked Sweden’s proposal, insisting that the assault be allowed to continue.

There’s only one force on this earth now that can stop Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen: the United States Congress. But Congressional leadership doesn’t want Congress to vote. The only way to force a vote now is for Members of Congress to assert their Constitutional war powers.

Last fall, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who voted for the Iraq war, helped Republican leadership block a vote on the Saudi-Yemen war in the House. The Intercept reported: 

“I’ve been making the rounds on the Hill, and I’ve heard from Hill offices that behind the scenes, House Democrats are being urged by Congressman Hoyer’s office not to sign on to H.Con.Res.81,” said retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff. Wilkerson, who opposes the war, has been working with other human rights activists to end American involvement in the conflict.

But the world has changed since last fall.

1. In March, 44 Senators supported a vote on the Bernie Sanders-Mike Lee-Chris Murphy resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi-Yemen war. Among “blue state Democrats,” only Coons (D-DE), Nelson (D-FL), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Menendez (D-NJ), Reed (D-RI), and Whitehouse (D-RI) voted to continue the war. It would be much harder now for Steny Hoyer to publicly justify collaborating with Republican leadership to block a vote in the House. 

2. The threatened Saudi-UAE assault on Hodeida had long been cited by “national security Democrats” in the House as a "red line" which would cause them to vigorously demand a war powers vote. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported:

The U.S. must now withdraw all its military support of the Saudi and U.A.E. military coalition,” Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and former Air Force lawyer, said in a separate email on Wednesday. “The U.S. already has blood on its hands in the Yemen crisis, we should not make them even bloodier.”

3. We have more Republican friends now. On Wednesday, Freedom House demanded that the U.S. press for an immediate cease-fire at Hodeida. 

Urge representatives to push for a war powers vote in Congress on the Saudi-Yemen war by signing our petition.

Thank you for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just, 

Robert Naiman

Just Foreign Policy