House Passes Bill to Halt US Support for Yemen War, UAE Withdraws Troops

July 13, 2019 in News by RBN Staff


The war in Yemen could end, if U.S. and United Arab Emirates’ support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen is truly over. However, the House NDAA bill still faces a major hurdle in the Senate. If those who want US military involvement to end pressure Congress, it can be done, says CodePink’s Medea Benjamin

It’s The Real News Network and I’m Greg Wilpert in Baltimore.

For the first time in four years, it looks like the war in Yemen could actually come to an end. That is, two important developments with regard to the war in Yemen happened on Thursday and on Friday. First, the United Arab Emirates, which is a crucial coalition partner with Saudi Arabia in this war, announced that it is withdrawing almost all of its ground forces from Yemen. Then, on Thursday and on Friday, the US House of Representatives passed several important amendments that will affect US military involvement in the Middle East. For example, they voted 236 to 193 on Thursday to prohibit the Trump administration from using funds to support the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen with munitions or intelligence. This vote is an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. This means that if the amendment also passes the Senate version, it would make it very difficult for Trump to veto as he did with an earlier bipartisan bill to stop US support for the war in Yemen, which is a war that has killed tens of thousands and is threatening millions with starvation, and that the UN has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

Joining me now to discuss the latest developments with regard to the war in Yemen is Medea Benjamin. Medea is co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK, and author of the book Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. Thanks for joining us today, Medea.

MEDEA BENJAMIN Good to be with you, Greg.

GREG WILPERT So let’s start with the announced withdrawal of the United Arab Emirates, or UAE, from Yemen. Why do you think this is happening now, and what does this mean for the war in Yemen?

MEDEA BENJAMIN There has been a difference in strategy between the Saudis and the Emirates for quite a while now with the Emirates supporting the groups in the south, the Saudis supporting the groups in the north, the Saudis worried that the Emirates were supporting a secessionist group that might want to break away. But then more recently, with the conflict between the US and Iran heating up, the Emirates did not want to be a target of Iran and thought that pulling out would make them less of a target. And then there’s also just the issue of the reputation of the Saudis being so tarnished. Unfortunately, not because of all the deaths that they have caused in Yemen, but more because of the killing of Khashoggi. In any case, the Emiratis understand that the Saudis are not a good partner at this point. And of course, there has been ongoing criticism by the human rights community, by the humanitarian community, by the United Nations, and now by Congress of all of the deaths that have been caused by the Saudi-UAE coalition that has been fighting the Houthis. So I think all of this together has been enough to push the Emirates to try to cut their losses.