In a rebuke of the White House’s Middle East policy, the U.S. Senate has voted to end American support for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemen civil war.
A watershed moment for the Senate, the resolution passed on Thursday marks the first time the upper chamber has invoked the 1973 War Powers Act to end U.S. military engagements which are undeclared.
Passed by 56–41 vote, seven GOP senators joined the legislative body’s entire Democratic caucus to support the resolution.
The measure calls on the Saudi kingdom to “ensure appropriate accountability” for the October slaying Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Commenting on the passage of the measure, Vermont democratic socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who alongside Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) sponsored the motion, said of the resolution:
“Today we declare we will not long participate in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen which has caused the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, with 85,000 children starving to death. Today we tell the despotic regime in Saudi Arabia that we will no longer be part of their military adventurism.”
A motion passed in response to Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s death in Turkey, the measure is still viewed as a symbolic gesture.
In order for the resolution to have force of law, the passage of a similar resolution is required in the House, a gesture unlikely to occur with the lower chamber still controlled by Republicans.
Passed over the objection of the Trump administration, reaction from Riyadh was swift: The kingdom upbraided the Senate for allegedly interfering in its internal affairs, and undercutting its role in the Middle East. In a Tuesday, Dec. 11, interview with Reuters, President Trump signaled support for the Saudis, describing them as a “very good ally” and reiterated the “crown prince vehemently denies” any role in killing Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia has offered conflicting accounts when addressing the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death. Riyadh finally acknowledged Khashoggi was slain by rogue intelligence operatives, admitting it was carried out by a team of assassins with links to the crown prince’s security detail.
Riyadh, however, has stopped short of implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been incriminated by U.S. intelligence services of masterminding the murder.
[BBC] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy The Greater Middle East]