In anticipation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s arrival in Washington early next week, the U.S. Senate is preparing a plan to condemn the Saudi killing of civilians in Yemen and compel the Trump administration to curtail U.S. military assistance in that effort. The internal Senate battle over exactly how to send that message is unfolding behind the scenes now.
A lot of Congressmen are frustrated from Saudi Arabia’s criminal acts in Yemen, which according to Human Rights Watch(HRW) has included at least 85 “unlawful coalition airstrikes” resulting in at least 1,000 civilian deaths. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights office said in September that coalition raids remain “the leading cause of civilian casualties.” The Saudis, along with their allies, have also imposed a siege that has consequently led to vast hunger in the country and a cholera outbreak that has infected more than 1 million civilians.
In June, the Senate narrowly defeated a resolution, put forth by Sens. Rand Paul and Chris Murphy, that would have overruled U.S. sales of precision munitions to Saudi Arabia. The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution in November stating that American provision of targeting information and refueling assistance to Saudi warplanes is unauthorized under current law and must be ceased immediately.