Senate starts debate on US role in Yemen

Senate starts debate on US role in Yemen

The Senate is debating a resolution aimed at ending the US involvement in Yemen. The measure has won new support in the aftermath of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Senate voted 60-39 on Wednesday to open debate on the resolution, signaling there is enough support to win the 50 votes needed. But it’s unclear how amendments to the measure will affect the final vote, which could come later Wednesday.

The advancement of the resolution was largely symbolic because the House of Representatives is not expected to take the matter up this year, and Trump has threatened a veto. But backers of the resolution said it sent an important message that lawmakers are unhappy with the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and angry about the lack of a strong US response to the killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

The Trump administration had urged lawmakers not to oppose US fueling and other support for the Saudi-led coalition as it battles the Houthis, Shi’ite Muslim fighters Yemen’s neighbors view as agents of Iran.

While some Republicans support the resolution, which was sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most other Republicans oppose it. 

“I think every single member of this body shares grave concerns about the murder of Khashoggi and wants accountability,” McConnell said. “We also want to preserve a 70-year partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and we want to ensure it continues to serve American interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region.”

You can read the full article on Al Jazeera here 

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