US House passes bill to end support for Yemen war

Washington: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday (local time) overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require President Donald Trump to withdraw US military assistance from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The bill, war powers resolution, which got a 248-177 vote, will now go to the Senate for consideration.

“Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen,” Anadolu News Agency quoted Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna as saying, who spearheaded the bill.

“I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role,” he added.

If the legislation gets the go-ahead from the Senate, it will head to Trump, where he is likely to issue the first veto of his presidency.

A similar measure was passed in the Republican-held Senate with 56-41 vote in December last year. However, the legislation was not cleared when the then-Republican House leadership blocked it from advancing further.

The overwhelming support for the bill to end US support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen comes in the backdrop of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its subsequent international furore.

Washington has long blamed Saudi’s royal family, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of orchestrating the scribe’s killing that took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of nations against Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015. The military intervention against a Houthi-rebel insurgency has wrecked the country’s medical, water and sanitation systems, resulting in the outbreak of cholera and other deadly diseases.

Thousands of civilians, especially children, have lost their lives either in airstrikes or fighting hunger.

The Trump administration ended its mid-air refuelling support of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in last November.