The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined a coalition of organizations in sending the following letter urging Congress to support a War Powers resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led coalition's war on Yemen.
April 20, 2022
Dear Members of Congress,
We, the undersigned national organizations, welcome news that Yemen's warring parties have agreed to a two-month nationwide truce, to halt military operations, lift fuel restrictions, and open Sana’a airport to commercial traffic. In an effort to strengthen this truce and further incentivize Saudi Arabia to stay at the negotiating table, we urge you to cosponsor and publicly support Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio’s forthcoming War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen.
March 26th, 2022, marked the start of the eighth year of the Saudi-led war and blockade on Yemen, which has helped cause the deaths of nearly half a million people and pushed millions more to the edge of starvation. With continued U.S. military support, Saudi Arabia escalated its campaign of collective punishment on the people of Yemen in recent months, making the start of 2022 one of the deadliest time periods of the war. Earlier this year, Saudi airstrikes targeting a migrant detention facility and vital communications infrastructure killed at least 90 civilians, wounded over 200, and triggered a nationwide internet blackout.
While we condemn Houthi violations, after seven years of direct and indirect involvement in the Yemen war, the United States must cease supplying weapons, spare parts, maintenance services, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia to ensure the temporary truce is adhered to and hopefully, extended into a lasting peace agreement.
The truce has had a positive impact on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, but UN officials warn that millions are still in need of urgent assistance. In Yemen today, roughly 20.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid for survival, with up to 19 million Yemenis acutely food insecure. A new report indicates that 2.2 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition over the course of 2022 and could perish without urgent treatment.
The war in Ukraine has only exacerbated the humanitarian conditions in Yemen by making food even more scarce. Yemen imports over 27% of its wheat from Ukraine and 8% from Russia. The UN reported that Yemen could see its famine numbers increase “five-fold” in the second half of 2022 as a result of wheat import shortages.
According to reports from UNFPA and the Yemeni Relief and Reconstruction Fund, the conflict has had especially devastating consequences for Yemeni women and children. A woman dies every two hours from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and for every woman who dies in childbirth, another 20 suffer preventable injuries, infections, and permanent disabilities.
In February 2021, President Biden announced an end to U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen. Yet the United States continues to provide spare parts, maintenance, and logistical support for Saudi warplanes. The administration also never defined what “offensive” and “defensive” support constituted, and it has since approved over a billion dollars in arms sales, including new attack helicopters and air-to-air missiles. This support sends a message of impunity to the Saudi-led coalition for its bombardment and siege of Yemen.
Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio recently announced their plans to introduce and pass a new Yemen War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s brutal military campaign.
This is more essential than ever to maintain momentum for the fragile two-month truce and to prevent backsliding by blocking U.S. support for any renewed hostilities. The lawmakers wrote, “As a candidate, President Biden pledged to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen while many who now serve as senior officials in his administration repeatedly called for shutting down precisely the activities the U.S. is engaged in that enable Saudi Arabia’s brutal offensive. We call on them to follow through on their commitment.”
Congress must reassert its Article I war powers, terminate U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade, and do everything it can to support the Yemen truce. Our organizations look forward to the introduction of the Yemen War Powers Resolution. We urge all members of Congress to say “no” to Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression by fully ending all U.S. support for a conflict that has caused such immense bloodshed and human suffering.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA)
American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)
Ban Killer Drones
Bring Our Troops Home
Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR)
Center for International Policy
Center on Conscience and War
Central Valley Islamic Council
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
Community Peacemaker Teams
Concerned Vets for America
Defending Rights & Dissent
Defense Priorities Initiative
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Health Alliance International
Historians for Peace and Democracy
ICNA Council for Social Justice
If Not Now
Islamophobia Studies Center
Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Just Foreign Policy
Justice Is Global
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Muslim Justice League
Muslims for Just Futures
National Council of Churches
Neighbors for Peace
Pax Christi USA
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive Democrats of America
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
ReThinking Foreign Policy
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team
The Episcopal Church
The Libertarian Institute
The United Methodist Church -- General Board of Church and Society
Union of Arab Women
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
United for Peace and Justice
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
Veterans For Peace
Win Without War
World BEYOND War
Yemen Freedom Council
Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
Yemeni Alliance Committee
Yemeni American Merchants Association
Yemeni Liberation Movement
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