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The Evitable Yemen Catastrophe

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Three F-15C Saudi from 13 Squadron.jpg
Trio of Saudi F-15Cs. By Saudi88hawk – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

I have a piece up at the National Interest on a recent resolution co-sponsored by Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy.  Long story short, the resolution attempts to use the War Powers Act to tighten restrictions on executive conduct of proxy wars, with specific attention to US support for the Saudi’s ongoing war against Yemen.

The resolution suggests that by materially supporting the Saudi war effort in Yemen, the United States has effectively become a cobelligerent. The Saudi-led war began in March 2015 as an effort to defeat Houthi rebels who controlled a substantial part of Yemen. Riyadh, among others, believes that these rebels operate with the support of Iran. However, despite a relentless air campaign, a significant ground campaign (including contributions from around the Middle East), and a devastating naval blockade, the Saudis have not been able to impose order on Yemen; just last month, Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh. Some analysts in the United States have despaired of seeing any prospects of success for the Saudi war effort, and many Americans have wondered why the United States continues to contribute to the conflict.

Were the resolution to gain any traction, it would represent a significant pushback against the growth of executive power over security policy. At the very least, it suggests that someone cares about the fact that the US (under Obama and now Trump) is effectively underwriting the Saudi campaign to immiserate and destroy Yemen.

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