Senators Propose Limits To US Support Of Saudi Coalition In Yemen

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Vandana Rambaran Political Reporter
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The Senate is considering placing limits on U.S. military support to the Saudi coalition fighting the civil war in Yemen, according to two senators backing the provision.

Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen hope to push through stipulations with bipartisan support in the annual defense policy. This will ultimately force a solution to end the civil war, rather than continue fighting the bloody battles that have claimed the lives of over 10,000 people since 2014, according to the United Nations.

“The civil war and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen are inflicting unacceptable damage to our national security interests and exacerbating heartbreaking human suffering,” Young and Shaheen said in a joint statement Thursday. “The United States must use its influence to persuade Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to pursue an urgent diplomatic solution to end the civil war.”

The United States spends billions of dollars to aid the fighting on behalf of Saudi Arabia by supplying arms, air fuel, intelligence and logistics to defeat the radical Houthi group. (RELATED: Yemen Peace Plan Could End Middle East Bombing Campaign)

The Senate voted against stopping military support to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen back in March, but Young and Shaheen effectively introduced new legislation days later that was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The new law, aimed at ending what the senators described as a “humanitarian crisis,” monitors the ways Saudi Arabia uses U.S. funds for warfare, and implements criteria that the coalition must meet in order for the U.S. to continue refueling Saudi coalition aircraft for missions.

The Saudi government must make efforts to end the civil war, take measures to increase Yemenis’ access to food, fuel and medicine, reduce unnecessary delays in humanitarian shipments, and reduce the risk of harm to civilians lives, according to the legislation.

This new undertaking by Young and Shaheen to limit U.S. support in Yemen further reflects lawmakers’ disturbance at the rising death toll in Yemen due to Saudi airstrikes. Since 2015, there have been over 16,000 civilian casualties, 22.2 million people in need of assistance, and 2 million displaced people. The status of the conflict is listed as “worsening” by the Council on Foreign Relations.

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