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Congress may finally stop U.S. involvement in Yemen's nightmare

Congress hasn’t done much to stop the U.S. military’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, which has unleashed a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.

On Monday, lawmakers signaled that might finally change.

With a vote of 366-30, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill explicitly stating U.S. involvement in Yemen isn’t covered under earlier legislation that authorized the use of force against terrorist organizations around the world.


But the bill stops short of actually demanding the White House do anything about it, unlike an earlier version that would have demanded Trump “remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen,” except for those fighting Al Qaeda.

Nevertheless, when it comes to Yemen, Congress went further than it has gone before.

“If I’m looking at something from a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of shifting U.S. foreign policy, maybe this is a 2,” Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, who’s been pushing for the U.S. to roll back its support for the war, said. “But it is a 2.”

Read more: Bomb that killed 16 Yemeni civilians was made by the U.S.

The United Nations warned last week that Saudi Arabia could cause the world’s worst famine in decades, endangering millions of lives, if it doesn’t lift its blockade on the war-torn country immediately.

The Saudi-led military coalition has shut down all sea, land, and air routes into the country in what it’s called an attempt to stem the flow of arms to the rebel Houthi movement from Iran.

The U.S. has supported Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen since 2015, by providing strategic intelligence as well as mid-air refueling services to Saudi-led coalition planes on bombing runs.

Further, America has been a top seller of bombs to the Kingdom, recently agreeing to sell $350 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over 10 years.

And some of those U.S.-made bombs have been used on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition, according to human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Yemen is in the grips of a cholera epidemic sparked by the conflict that has infected at least 500,000 people and killed 2,000 this year, according to the World Health Organization.

Read more: The Senate approved Saudi arms deal is a disaster for Yemen