In 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition (including the USA) launched an airstrike against Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East. This war has led to the largest humanitarian crisis on the globe today. Half of Yemen’s 28 million people are on the brink of starvation and the country is suffering from the worst cholera crisis in modern history. Civilians are being targeted and killed. In August, a school bus was intentionally bombed. 40 children age 6-11 and 51 people total were killed. 1000s of people have been killed.
Last spring, Senator Sanders broke his long standing silence on the Saudi regime and introduced a resolution to end USA’s support of the war. The resolution (SJ Res 54) was blocked but he is reintroducing it very soon (right after Thanksgiving if not before). Congressman Welch is working on a parallel resolution (H.R. 7082) that is very similar. Here is the link to the Senate bill and here is the House bill.
Both of these resolutions address the fact that the USA’s military is supporting the airstrikes by refueling Saudi bombers and providing intelligence. However, neither of them address the issue of arms manufacturers and dealers supporting and profiting off this horror. This must stop! Many of these weapons and aircraft are manufactured in the USA. In fact, Saudi Arabia is the biggest single customer for both the US and UK arms industries. We are complicit!
For more information on the bigger picture, but a year old, here is a video of Medea Benjamin’s talk at the PJC last fall. She was here touring with her book Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. She is a co-founder of Code Pink. They are a great group follow and get more information.
Why is so little of this in the news? Saudi Arabia is a close ally to the USA and this might have to do with oil! Below are a variety of media that you can absorb (podcasts, videos, readings).
- “Mohammed bin Salman, Donald Trump, and the Bipartisan Brotherhood with Saudi Arabia” – October 24 episode of the podcast Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
- “Why Won’t Trump Condemn the Saudis? (Hint: It’s Israel. Also, Iran)” – October 18 episode of the podcast Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan
- Article from Common Dreams on the resolution that Senator Sanders introduced last spring.
- A bunch of articles from the Guardian.
- A video of a street performance called “What is Really Happening in Yemen” developed and performed by PJC interns in summer 2017. (The script to this is available if others want to utilize it. The numbers will need to be updated.)
Actions you can take:
- Call all three of Vermont’s congressional delegation. (See phone numbers and scripts below.)
- Sign this petition telling Vice Media to stop partnering with Saudi Arabian media companies. https://www.codepink.org/advice_for_vice
- Sign up to receive action alerts from Code Pink. https://www.codepink.org/join_an_action_team
- Continue to educate yourself with the links provided.
- Pass this information along to friends.
Calls to Congress:
Congressman Peter Welch (202) 225-4115.
“Thank you for cosponsoring HR 7082. I hope it is successful. Please continue to be a leader to end the violence in Yemen. I hope you will go a step further than the resolution and do all you can to block all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (202) 224-5141
“Thank you for re-introducing HR 7082. I hope it is successful. Please continue to be a leader to end the violence in Yemen. I hope you will go a step further than the resolution and do all you can to block all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242
“I urge you to join Senator Sanders and others to pass HR 7082. I hope you will go a step further than the resolution and do all you can to block all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 16: Rep Ro Khanna’s bill was blocked from being brought to the floor by the addition of a clause to an unrelated bill (about wolves) that blocks the legislature from forcing a vote on issues of war and peace. This has been allowable for decades and is a critical power of the legislature. The fact that is no longer an option is an assault of human rights. What this means in this case is that the bill won’t be brought to the floor for a vote until the new legislature begins in January. Calls to Sanders and Leahy are still needed.
The November 15 episode of Democracy Now goes into the details of how Khanna’s bill was derailed. https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2018/11/15