Use all tools to end the blockade of Yemen by the Saudi coalition


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“Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East before the war, but the conflict and the resulting blockade tactics made the situation exponentially worse.”

“The United States must make it clear that these cruel and senseless blockade tactics endanger millions of innocent Yemenis and are counterproductive to peace.”

Washington (May 20, 2021) – United States Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt. ), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-California), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), And Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), sent a letter to President Biden regarding the Saudi coalition’s use of blockade tactics in Yemen that prevented food, medicine and other crucial supplies to reach millions. In the letter, lawmakers urge President Biden to take immediate and decisive action to leverage all US influence and tools to pressure Saudi Arabia to unconditionally and immediately end its tactics. blockade.

“We call on you to take advantage of any influence and tools available, including the potential impact on ongoing arms sales, US-Saudi military cooperation, and US-Saudi relations more broadly, to demand that Saudi Arabia immediately and unconditionally ceases to use blockade tactics. The current impasse in imports of commercial fuels must end today and be dissociated from the current negotiations “,wrote the lawmakers.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

For nearly seven years, Yemen has been plunged into a devastating civil war that has completely destabilized the country. The conflict devoured the entire nation and degenerated into the main global humanitarian crisis. The United Nations (UN) estimates that nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s 31 million citizens – over 24 million people – are in need of assistance and protection. More than three million people have been displaced and experts estimate that more than 230,000 people have died in the war, including tens of thousands of civilian casualties and at least 130,000 who have died due to a lack of emergency services. health and widespread famine.

Since 2015, amid the civil war in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition has prevented critical resources from reaching those in need. In 2015, Saudi Arabia began positioning warships in Yemeni waters and closed access to the country’s air and land access ports. Blockade tactics were used repeatedly, preventing vital food, medicine, fuel and essential supplies from reaching sick and hungry Yemenis. The most recent iteration of this back-and-forth between warring actors halted the import of all necessary commercial fuel to nearly two-thirds of the population of northern Yemen. It has had a negative impact on food transporters and processors, hospitals, schools and businesses. Nations and pundits around the world have denounced these blockade tactics since their inception in 2015.

President Biden’s administration has taken several steps to resolve the conflict in Yemen, including revoking the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization, announcing the end of US support for US-led “offensive” operations. Saudi Arabia and resuming critical humanitarian aid in northern Yemen.

“We welcome the attention your administration has given to ending the conflict in Yemen, but immediate and decisive action must be taken to end the current blockade on fuel imports which is exacerbating the growing humanitarian crisis,” lawmakers continued. .

This letter is endorsed by the Friends Committee on National Law (FCNL), American Friends Service Committee, Churches for Peace in the Middle East, Freedom Forward, Demand Progress, Charity and Security Network , Just Foreign Policy, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Massachusetts Peace Action, New Jersey Peace Action, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Peace Action, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) CODEPINK, DC Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Action Corps, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Saudi American Justice Project, Yemeni Alliance Committee, Église Méthodiste United – Church of Board and Society, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), National Council of Churches, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries.

“Until recently, the blockade of Yemen was neglected by Congress despite its catastrophic impact on the lives of civilians in Yemen,” said Dr Shireen Al-Adeimi, assistant professor at Michigan State University. “I am happy to see that the situation is changing and that American elected officials are calling on President Biden to end his support for the blockade of Yemen. I also hope to see Congress regain its constitutional power by legislating to end to everything. US involvement in the war against Yemen. “

“It is good news that this group of 16 senators is calling for an immediate end to the Saudi blockade on Yemen, which is helping to drive the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, legislative director for Middle East policy at the Committee of Friends on National Law (FCNL). “The recent recognition by the Department of Defense that American companies are still allowed to maintain Saudi fighter jets, means that our government still allows Saudi offensive operations in Yemen, including bombing and the application of a inhuman blockade on the ports of Yemen. The administration must use its current system. the authority to prevent American civilian contractors from contributing to the Saudi war effort, before more Yemenis fell into starvation. “

“The blockade, intended to starve civilians and destroy their livelihoods, pushes 16.3 million Yemenis to the brink of man-made famine,” said Dr Aisha Jumaan, President of the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. “We must lift the blockade immediately and unconditionally to avoid massive famine and save lives. Making the lifting of the blockade conditional on lengthy negotiations between the warring parties is unethical as it holds civilians hostage and risks their lives. . Yemen can’t wait! “

“While we welcome the end promised by the Biden administration to US support for Saudi Arabia-led ‘offensive’ operations against Yemen earlier this year, the ongoing blockade is one of the most significant offensive operations. deadliest to date against Yemeni civilians “. said Cavan Kharrazian, progressive foreign policy activist at Demand Progress.US logistics and support continue to be used by the Saudi regime to impose its blockade, and the Biden administration has yet to use its full weight with Saudi Arabia to end its devastating collective retribution of millions of Yemenis. We applaud the senators. “, and urge them to use all legislative tools at their disposal to end US complicity in perpetuating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

“How is it possible that we still support Saudi Arabia even as they continue their blockade of supplies they desperately need to avert a massive famine in Yemen. We need President Biden to return to his election promise to treat Saudi Arabia like the outcast nation they are instead of looking away and sending them new weapons as they starve to death in Yemen ”, said Paul Shannon, board member and executive committee member of Mass. Peace Action.

“Actions speak louder than words. The administration must respond to the call of these senators and act now to end the blockade of Yemen by exerting its broad influence over the Saudi regime,” said Erik Sperling, executive director of Just Foreign Policy. “The blockade skyrockets the costs of food and transportation, starves families and then denies them access to vital health care. Protecting the Saudis from the consequences would lead to the inevitable conclusion that the United States is complicit in the blockade . It would be unacceptable and unacceptable. “

Senator Warren sharply criticized US support for the Saudi-led coalition military operations in Yemen. She previously questioned military commanders about the United States’ ability to track the results of bombing missions carried out by United States Army coalition warplanes and urged the United States to immediately end its involvement in the war. in Yemen.

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