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  • Senator Chris Murphy speaks after the senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military support for the war in Yemen December 13, 2018.

    Senator Chris Murphy speaks after the senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military support for the war in Yemen December 13, 2018. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 16 January 2019

The U.S. Congress has bowed to pressure over the Khashoggi assassination to stop fueling the Saudi war in Yemen.

United States President Donald Trump is expected to face a new vote, this time in the U.S. House of Representatives, which could limit his authority to continue waging war in Yemen. The action is limited by internal politics and the option of a presidential veto.

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In December last year, the U.S. Senate passed a measure which called on the 1973 War Powers Resolution, by a 56 to 41 vote, marking a historic move to end military support for the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen.

The House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, is leading the same effort to curtail the president’s authority to continue to fuel the backing of the Saudi-led military campaign.

Specifically, the measure would serve to cut off “U.S. refueling, logistical support, intelligence, and special forces operations” to Saudi allies, according to Reuters. 

However, even if Trump is curtailed, he cannot be completely stopped as he can overrule the measure and continue fueling the aggressors. It is unlikely that his opponents will be able to get the necessary two-thirds majorities in both houses to override a presidential veto, according to The Guardian.

In context, a group led by independent Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the bill in the Senate but to a different mix of lawmakers. The upper house’s composition changed after the recent election and so the measure would need to be reintroduced.

Factions in the U.S. Congress have bowed to pressure on the Khashoggi murder in order to give bipartisan support to measures aimed toward ending the promotion of the Saudi-led war.

In addition, it appears that the compromise to curtail Trump’s backing for the Saudi war in Yemen is conditioned by the ebbs of the conflict in Yemen, which has no clear end in sight. Specifically, “the legislation could be held back,” in the event that the cease-fire concerning the Yemeni port of Hodeidah is successfully upheld, and if the Saudis show more transparency over the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reported.

The Yemeni war started in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and 12 regional allies formed a coalition to restore the pro-Saudi government into power after the Houthi movement took over the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have received logistic and intelligence support for the intervention in Yemen, have been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity over intentionally targeting civilians as well as allegations of torture.

The country has also spiraled into one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. More than 24 million people, representing three-quarters of the population, are in need of assistance and protection, and 20 million people lack access to food, according to the United Nations.

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