Trump vetoes resolution to end US participation in Yemen’s civil war

Evarado Alatorre
Abril 17, 2019

President Donald Trump has vetoed a congressional resolution that sought to end US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the White House said on Tuesday.

The veto - the second in Trump's presidency - was expected.

Neither the 247-175 tally in the Democratic-majority House nor the 54-46 vote in the Republican-led Senate would be enough to override the veto, which would require two-thirds majorities in both chambers.

Mr Trump said the measure was unnecessary because except for counterterrorism operations against ISIS militants and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the United States is not engaged in hostilities in or affecting Yemen. All the while, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been implicated in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a USA resident and journalist critical of the regime.

In a statement to the Senate on Tuesday, the Commander-in-chief called the resolution "an unnecessary, risky attempt to weaken his constitutional authorities".

The president also argued the resolution would "harm the foreign policy of the United States" and "harm our bilateral relationships".

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"Congressional engagement in those endeavors would be far more productive than expending time and effort trying to enact this unnecessary and risky resolution that interferes with our foreign policy with respect to Yemen", he said. He also highlighted that the U.S. was not actively engaged in hostilities, except against al-Qaeda extremists.

Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. The decision is both "timely and strategic" he added.

The US now pours billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Houthi rebels, who are believed to be supported by Iran, in Yemen. And as American weapons and technology have aided the war effort, thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed in air strikes, though the administration says it is working to reduce unintended casualties. "Yet the President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress and perpetuate America's shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis", Pelosi said.

No one was surprised by the veto - had Trump wanted to comply with the resolution, he could have withdrawn support to Saudi Arabia at any time. Vetoing the measure is an "effective green light for the war strategy that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis to continue", said International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband.

The fighting in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has left millions suffering from food shortages and medical care shortages. "Yemen is at a breaking point with 10 million people on the brink of starvation".

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