Today, ADHRB and 64 other nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to Congressmen Khanna, Massie, Pocan, and Jones thanking them and applauding them for introducing House Concurrent Resolution 81 and forcing a debate and vote on ending unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif), Thomas Massie (R-Ken), Mark Pocan (D-Wis), and Walter Jones (R-N. Car) are the sponsors of H.Con.Res.81, which invokes the War Powers Resolution to call on the US to halt it material support for Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies’ efforts in Yemen. Continue reading for the text of the letter, or click here for a PDF of the letter.

 

October 27, 2017

Dear Congressmen Khanna, Massie, Pocan, and Jones,

We, the undersigned organizations, write to applaud your decision to introduce House Concurrent Resolution 81 to force a debate and vote on ending unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. By providing technical, logistical and other military support for the Saudi/UAE-led coalition in Yemen, the U.S. has facilitated numerous violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen and the creation of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Since March 2015, the U.S. has provided the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen with political and military support, including targeting intelligence, mid-air refueling, and other logistical support. U.S. personnel reportedly work alongside Saudi and other counterparts in the coalition’s joint command center. CENTCOM has publicly confirmed that the U.S. continues to provide mid-air refueling to the coalition, despite having no information on the objectives, flight plans, or targets of the refueled missions and no way to verify whether such missions comport with the laws of armed conflict or US national security objectives. U.S. weapons sold to Saudi Arabia have been misused repeatedly in airstrikes on civilians and civilians objects that are the leading cause of civilian casualties in the conflict and destroyed Yemen’s vital infrastructure. This destruction of infrastructure has exacerbated the world’s largest hunger crisis and created the conditions necessary for the largest cholera outbreak ever documented.

Yet despite the fact that the U.S. is actively aiding and abetting coalition abuses, U.S. military involvement in this disastrous conflict in Yemen has never been debated publicly. This war of attrition has been waged using U.S. weaponry, military support, and personnel without congressional authorization for far too long. As the Trump Administration has consistently ignored human rights and civilian harm in its national security decisions, and looks to take a more aggressive posture in the region, Congress must send a clear signal that U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war requires congressional authorization. Without it, U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen violates the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Congress has a constitutional and ethical duty to ensure any and all U.S. military operations comply with domestic and international law, and U.S. participation in the war in Yemen raises numerous legal and moral questions that must be resolved by Congress. Congress has an additional responsibility to do all in its power to convey to the administration and US allies in the region that more must be done to address the urgent humanitarian crisis facing millions of Yemenis.

The war has also created a security vacuum in Yemen that poses a significant security threat to the region and the United States. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is stronger than it has ever been. The U.S. State Department recently stated that “AQAP, in particular, has benefitted from this conflict by significantly expanding its presence in the southern and eastern governorates. It has successfully inserted itself amongst multiple factions on the ground, making the group more difficult to counter.” Iran has also taken advantage of Yemen’s instability, and benefits the longer the conflict drags on; by smuggling limited amounts of arms into Yemen, Tehran has further embroiled its Gulf rivals in an unwinnable war. Only by ending the war in Yemen can these threats from AQAP and Iran be mitigated, for they have been bolstered precisely because of the chaos wrought by the stalemated battle between the U.S.-supported Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi-Saleh alliance.

The president is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, and as such has authority to deploy and commit U.S. troops to foreign conflicts. However, this authority is extremely limited. The Constitution grants Congress the exclusive power to declare war. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 has been held by all three branches of government to require specific statutory authorization for any extended military involvement in armed conflicts other than in cases of self-defense. As Houthi/Saleh forces in Yemen are not in any way associated with Al Qaeda and do not pose an imminent threat to the United States, there is simply no existing authority for the U.S. involvement in this conflict. We applaud your decision to exercise congressional oversight to end the U.S. role in the destruction of Yemen.

Sincerely,

 

Action on Armed Violence

American Muslims for Palestine – NJ/NY (AMP-NJ/NY)

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

Arab Center for the Protection of Human Rights

Asian Law Caucus

Avaaz

Balhaji

Campaign for Liberty

Center for International Policy

CODEPINK

Conference of Superiors of Men (Catholic)

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Corruption Watch

CREDO Action

Daily Kos

Defending Rights & Dissent

Demand Progress

DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Foreign Policy for America

Franciscan Action Network

Freedom Forward

FreedomWorks

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

Islamic Society of North America

Jewish Voice for Peace

Just Foreign Policy

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Maryland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

Military Families Speak Out

Minnesota Peace Project

MoveOn.org

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Lawyers Guild International Committee

Nonviolence International-USA

Oakland Privacy

Pax Christi International

Pax Christi USA

Peace Action

Peace Action New York State

People Demanding Action

Pittsburg Mother to Mother Ministry

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

Project South

RootsAction.org

Saferworld

Security Research and Information Centre (SRIC)

SEIU Local 87

STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

The Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance

United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ)

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Veterans For Peace

Win Without War

Women in Black – New Paltz, NY

Women in Black – Vienna

Women in Black – Baltimore

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Worchester Islamic Center (WIC)

World Beyond War

World Peace Foundation

Yemen Peace Project