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Yemen: US senate push

As PN went to press, there was still a flicker of hope that the partial ceasefire would be strengthened in and around the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, which handles 70 percent of Yemen’s imports.

The war in Yemen moved towards a ceasefire in December, in part because Saudi Arabia came under pressure from the US government, which itself was under pressure from US senators.

It wasn’t enough that the US and Britain had become two of the most important supporters and suppliers of the Saudi-led coalition destroying Yemen.

It wasn’t enough that Yemen had become ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ (UN secretary-general António Guterres in April).

It wasn’t enough that the Saudi-led coalition was attacking Hodeidah, halving the flow of desperately-needed food and medicines.

It wasn’t enough that 14 million Yemenis, half the population, were facing ‘pre-famine conditions’ (UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Mark Lowcock in October).

It wasn’t enough that Saudi and UAE airstrikes had killed at least 1,248 children in Yemen, according to the UN, or that a third of the 18,000 Saudi/UAE airstrikes in Yemen had hit non-military targets.

It was only after the assassination and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Turkey on 2 October that the US suspended its in-air refuelling services for the Saudi air force.

This came as US senators considered a resolution to cut back US involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. Sponsored by Republicans and Democrats, it was passed by the senate on 13 December.

The Yemen resolution may now also pass in the new, Democrat-controlled, house of representatives which took its seats on 3 January. However, US president Donald Trump can veto the bill, and he can only be overridden by a two-thirds majority in both houses.

There has been no similar parliamentary push in the UK to limit British support for the Saudi war effort.

Topics: Yemen