By the coalition signed below, January 5, 2023
Idaho — Eight groups across Idaho are urging Idaho’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor and help pass the Yemen War Powers Resolution (S.J.Res.56/H.J.Res.87) to end U.S. military aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The 8 organizations — 3 Rivers Healing, Action Corps, Black Lives Matter Boise, Boise DSA, Friends Committee On National Legislation’s Idaho Advocacy Team, Refugees Welcome in Idaho, Unity Center of Spiritual Growth, and World BEYOND War — are calling on Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo and Congressmembers Fulcher and Simpson to do everything in their power to help pass this legislation and hold the Biden administration accountable to its promise to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen.
The United States has continued to provide spare parts, maintenance, and logistical support for Saudi warplanes, without affirmative authorization from Congress. The Biden administration never defined what “offensive” and “defensive” support constituted, and has approved over a billion dollars in arms sales, including new attack helicopters and air-to-air missiles. This support sends a message of impunity to the Saudi-led coalition for its 7 years of bombardment and siege of Yemen.
Last month, opposition from the White House pressured the Senate to postpone a vote on the Yemen War Powers Resolution, insinuating that Biden would veto it if it passed. The administration’s opposition represents a reversal on the part of top Biden administration officials, many of whom previously supported the resolution in 2019.
“Any single senator or representative has the power to force a debate and a vote, to either pass this or find out where Congress stands and allow the public to hold elected officials accountable. We need someone to find the courage to do that now in this Congress, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be someone from Idaho,” said David Swanson, World BEYOND War’s Executive Director.
“Idahoans are pragmatic people who support common-sense solutions. And that’s just what this legislation is: an effort to rein in spending, decrease foreign entanglements, and restore constitutional checks and balances–all while standing up for peace. There’s no reason Idaho’s delegation shouldn’t jump at the chance to support this resolution,” added Eric Oliver, Idaho teacher and member of Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Boise Advocacy Team.
The Saudi-led war on Yemen has killed nearly a quarter of a million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It’s also led to what the UN body has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Over 4 million people have been displaced because of the war, and 70% of the population, including 11.3 million children, are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This same assistance has been thwarted by the Saudi-led coalition’s land, air, and naval blockade of the country. Since 2015, this blockade has prevented food, fuel, commercial goods, and aid from entering Yemen.
The full text of the sign-on letter sent to Idaho’s Congressional Delegation is below.
Dear Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, Congressman Fulcher, and Congressman Simpson,
With a possibility of an end to the seven-year war in sight, we’re reaching out to ask you to cosponsor S.J.Res.56/H.J.Res.87, a War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
In 2021, the Biden administration announced an end to U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen. Yet the United States has continued to provide spare parts, maintenance, and logistical support for Saudi warplanes. The Administration never got affirmative authorization from Congress, never defined what “offensive” and “defensive” support constituted, and has approved over a billion dollars in arms sales, including new attack helicopters and air-to-air missiles. This support sends a message of impunity to the Saudi-led coalition for its 7 years of bombardment and siege of Yemen.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution makes clear, the legislative branch holds the sole power to declare war. Unfortunately, U.S. military involvement with the Saudi-led coalition, which includes U.S. military attachés overseeing the ongoing provision of spare parts and maintenance for the Saudi air fleet operations in Yemen, clearly ignores this clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also ignores section 8c of the War Powers Act of 1973, which prohibits U.S. armed forces from being able to “command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities” without authorization from Congress.
Our statewide network is distressed that the temporary nationwide truce, which expired on October 2nd, was not renewed. While negotiations to extend the truce are still possible, the absence of a truce makes US action toward peace even more necessary. Unfortunately, even under the truce, which began in April 2022, there were many violations of the agreement by the warring parties. Now, out of the limited protection the truce provided, the humanitarian crisis remains desperate. Only about 50% of Yemen’s fuel needs have been met (as of October 2022), and significant delays in shipments entering Hodeida port still persist as a result of Saudi restrictions. These delays artificially inflate the prices of critical goods, perpetuate the humanitarian crisis, and erode the trust needed to secure a peace agreement that finally ends the war.
To strengthen this fragile truce and further incentivize Saudi Arabia to support a negotiated solution to end the war and blockade, Congress must use its main piece of leverage in Yemen by preventing the continuation of any further U.S. military participation in the Yemen war and making clear to the Saudis that they cannot renege on this ceasefire as they have done previously, spurring them to arrive at a peaceful settlement.
We urge you to help advance an end to this war by cosponsoring S.J.Res.56/H.J.Res.87, the War Powers Resolution, to fully end all U.S. support for a conflict that has caused such immense bloodshed and human suffering.
3 Rivers Healing
Black Lives Matter Boise
Friends Committee On National Legislation’s Idaho Advocacy Team
Refugees Welcome in Idaho
Unity Center of Spiritual Growth
World BEYOND War
I hope and pray that you will succeed in you efforts to get a War Powers Resolution and help to end US support for the 7 year war on Yemen.