U.S. Lawmakers Vote to End the U.S. Involvement in the Yemen War

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U.S. Lawmakers Vote to End the U.S. Involvement in the Yemen War

Lizzie P., Staff Writer

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 Yemen, a poor nation in the Middle East, has been engaged in a civil war for the last five years. The U.S. have been helping the government fight against the rebels trying to overthrow the Yemen authority, but the U.S. Congress has recently voted that they should withdraw their aid.

    The Yemen civil war started when the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, handed his power over to a person named Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in the spring of 2011. This transition was supposed to strengthen the government. However, Hadi struggled to solve the problems Yemen had, in addition to losing the loyalty of many of Saleh’s original military officers. Hadi was not as good of a leader as Saleh was. In 2014, fighting erupted from a rebel group known as the Houthi rebels. They used Hadi’s weaknesses as a leader and took control over much of Yemen, including the capital, causing Hadi to have to leave the country.

    The conflict increased in the March of 2015 when Saudi Arabia, a country that borders Yemen, started attacking the Houthi rebels with the declaration to restore Hadi to power. Their reason was so that the Houthi rebels wouldn’t gain too much of an influence over the Middle East. Saudi Arabia got the supplies, money and military to do this from the U.S., the U.K., and France.

    Ever since, fighting has continued in Yemen between the Houthi rebels and the Yemen government. The people on the side of the Yemen government either strive for independence between North and South Yemen, or they would like the government to be restored to how it was before the war. The Houthi rebels strive to take over all of Yemen and run the government according to their ideals.

    Unfortunately, the ongoing fighting in Yemen has created a big humanitarian crisis. The war has cost nearly 10,000 people their lives, and 8.4 million people being at risk of starvation. In addition, 75% of the population is requiring assistance, and about 40,000 children under the age of five are threatened by malnourishment. The Yemen healthcare system has been failing, and if fighting continues, more people could be at risk.

    In June of 2018, the Saudi government began an attack on a main Houthi rebel port in Yemen known as Hudaydah. However, this port has been a significant entryway for aid that has helped the failing health of the people of Yemen. If this attack continues, it could mean a much more threatening famine upon the people.

    One could say this was what made the U.S. government reconsider whether it should still be giving military aid to Saudi Arabia. Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy sponsored a bill, meaning they proposed an idea that could potentially become a federal decision, that would end the U.S. role in the Yemen war. This means they would stop giving Saudi Arabia the supplies, money, and military aid they need to continue fighting the Houthi rebels.

    The people of Congress who support this bill say that helping the Saudis are only causing more conflict and harm among the people. “U.S. bombs are bombing school buses. U.S. bombs are bombing those in Yemen who are innocent citizens,” says Representative Shelia Jackson Lee. The people of Congress who oppose this bill say that the U.S. still needs to provide military aid because, “U.S. armed forces are not engaged in hostilities [harmful actions]…they are calling for the removal of troops that are simply not there,” as Representative Michael McCaul claims.

    President Donald Trump vetoed, meaning he refused the bill to withdraw the U.S. from its role in the Yemen war. However, if the President vetoes a bill, it can still be passed if Congress re-votes that it should be passed and wins by a two-thirds majority. So, if Trump vetoes the bill offering the removal of U.S. involvement in Yemen, the bill can still be passed. Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy led the resolution trying to rebuke, or counteract, Trump’s veto.

    The resolution eventually past, withdrawing the U.S. military support from helping Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war.

    The war in Yemen has all but stopped, however this decision will impact how the conflict develops later.  

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