UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) – The US Senate voted Tuesday to end US involvement in the bloody war in Yemen in an extraordinary bid to bypass presidential military authorization, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is visiting Washington.
The rare vote on American intervention in wars is aimed at stopping US military intervention in Yemen within months, unless Congress formally agrees to continue this intervention.
The US military now supports the Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.
A group of bipartisan senators behind the vote, including Bernie Sanders, could create diplomatic embarrassment on the day US President Donald Trump, the Saudi crown prince, is on a three-week tour of the United States.
A number of US congressmen expressed concern over the conflict in Yemen, where a large number of civilians have been killed, a humanitarian crisis has been caused and millions have been brought to the brink of famine.
Since 2015, the Pentagon has provided “non-combat support” to Saudi Arabia that includes sharing intelligence and providing air-borne fighter jets.
Last week, US Defense Secretary Jim Matisse asked Congress not to interfere in the US role in the war, warning that restrictions could “increase civilian casualties, hamper cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis, Aggravate the situation and the humanitarian crisis.”
More than 9,200 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured in the three-year-old war in Yemen, which is wracked by civil war and proxy warfare between the two regional powers, Iran and Iran.
Senators Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy said earlier this month that their decision would lead to a vote, the first of its kind in the Senate, to “withdraw US forces from unauthorized war.”
In October, senior military advisers and diplomats said the administration was not seeking new authorization for military operations in hot spots around the world.
Congress issued the first authorization to use military force on September 14, 2001, three days after the attacks on New York and Washington.
Since then, Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump have relied on that authorization and subsequent authorization in 2002 as the basis for operations against armed Islamist groups.
Many Democrats and some Republicans have warned that these statements have become a license for American military intervention indefinitely.