U.S. senators push to stop support of Arab coalition in Yemen

Saudi soldiers stand guard as workers unload aid from a Saudi air force cargo plane at an airfield in Yemen's central province of Marib

U.S. senators push to stop support of Arab coalition in Yemen

The bill intends to exploit a powerful but rarely activated provision in a 1973 law - the War Powers Act - that gives Congress the authority to overrule the president and withdraw troops if the former believes the conflict is not authorised.

The Sanders-Lee Resolution hopes "to invoke the War Powers Resolution to remove USA forces from this illegal war", explained Ruffalo. Aides to senators say the resolution, which would trigger a vote over whether to end USA participation in the conflict, is unprecedented in the Senate.

The United States has backed Saudi Arabia in its fight against Houthis in Yemen and in an attempt to reinstall president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. "The time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority", Sanders said in a television address on Wednesday.

Sanders stressed that under the Constitution, Congress is the only authority that can declare war, alluding to divisions in the U.S. government between congressional power and the president's role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

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Since 2015, Washington has provided weapons, intelligence and aerial refuelling for a Saudi-led coalition, which has conducted air strikes against Huthi rebels.

"This is a USA war in Yemen, yet it's never had any legal justification", he continued.

Since then, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed and millions face starvation due to Saudi-led blockades on food and supplies to civilians.

Sanders and Lee are working to win support from colleagues as well as the Senate leadership, aides said, and the White House has been made aware of the forthcoming resolution. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the resolution shows that there is bipartisan support for ending US involvement in the Yemen war, which began under President Barack Obama in 2015 and has continued under President Donald Trump.

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"Support for this intervention began under a Democratic president and has continued under a Republican president".

Senator Bernie Sanders said at a news conference yesterday.

The current war powers were issued in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and 2002 when the United States went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For decades, members of Congress have wrangled with how to restore its war-making powers from a succession of assertive administrations.

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"Without Congressional authorization, our engagement in the war in Yemen should be restricted to providing desperately needed humanitarian aid, and diplomatic efforts to resolve it", Sanders said in a statement. But recent administrations, through the use of drone strikes and so-called special operators, have expanded the interpretation of when a commander-in-chief can send U.S. troops overseas.

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