The United States Senate voted Wednesday to advance a resolution ending U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition, which has been accused of war crimes, in Yemen's civil war ahead of next week’s U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Sweden between the warring parties as Western allies press for an end to the war that has pushed the country to starvation.
In a 63-37 vote, the U.S. Senate advanced the measure to withdraw military support for Saudi Arabia’s forces in Yemen, a move that united some Democrats and Republicans against President Donald Trump's response to Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.
Both parties have also expressed distaste to his assertion that the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, should not affect U.S.-Saudi relations -- despite the CIA reporting that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.
"It's time to send Saudi Arabia a message, both on its violation of human rights and the incredible humanitarian catastrophe it's creating in Yemen," Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist, said the vote was a major victory. “For the first time, the U.S. Senate just voted to advance a resolution withdrawing U.S. Armed Forces from an unauthorized and unconstitutional war,” he said in a tweet. “Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end, and help bring peace and humanitarian aid to this tortured country.”
For the first time, the U.S. Senate just voted to advance a resolution withdrawing U.S. Armed Forces from an unauthorized and unconstitutional war.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 28, 2018
Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end, and help bring peace and humanitarian aid to this tortured country. pic.twitter.com/rbThxPXuEG
The vote precedes the United Nations’ sponsored peace talks between parties involved in Yemen’s war, which was ignited by Saudi Arabia's intervention into the country in March 2015 after its allied government was ousted by the Houthi rebels.
The United Nations is attempting to reconvene talks between the Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Houthi movement which controls much of the north since taking over the capital Sanaa in early 2015, prompting an intervention by Saudi Arabia and 12 of its regional allies in order to restore the Saudi-backed government.
The aim of the renewed peace talks is to come to an agreement for a framework for peace and a transitional governing body. A previous round of talks collapsed in September when the Houthis did not turn up.
According to a recent study, over 55,000 people have been killed as a result of Saudi-led strikes and bombings. The estimate excludes the victims of the man-made famine caused by Saudi Arabia’s inhumane blockade of Yemen's ports. The Saudi coalition has been repeatedly accused of war crimes by the United Nations and other human rights organizations, who say that the airstrikes campaign has initially targeted hospitals, schools, weddings, and funerals.
Based on conservative estimates from U.N. data, approximately 84,700 children who have been suffering from severe acute malnutrition may have died between April 2015 and October 2018 in the war-torn country, human rights organization Save the Children said.