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Assert War Powers to Challenge Trump's Escalations in Syria & Yemen

Late on Monday, June 26, the White House threatened military escalation against the Syrian government. US defense officials reached by BuzzFeed News said they were unaware the White House was planning to release its statement. Military officials were caught off guard by the White House statement, the New York Times reported.

Urge your representatives to assert Congress' war powers to challenge Trump's military escalations by signing our petition at MoveOn.

As Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote at the Washington Post, "While Washington is fixated on President Trump’s tweets, antics, lies and Russiagate, the administration is ramping up a stealth escalation of our military involvement across the Middle East."

Congress has never authorized the use of military force against the Syrian government, just as it has never authorized U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Congress, not the President, decides if the U.S. should use military force against the Syrian government, so long as the Syrian government has not attacked the United States. Attacking Syria without Congressional authorization is an impeachable offense.

Trump has unleashed the Saudi monarchy. The House must act

Saudi Arabia's extremist monarchy is out of control, and the Trump Administration has proved unwilling or unable to rein it in.

This week, Saudi Arabia's monarchy elevated as its heir Mohammed bin Salman - the man most responsible for the Saudi war and blockade in Yemen that has deliberately pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and ignited a deadly cholera outbreak across the country. [1]

Then, when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi Arabia to articulate "reasonable and actionable" demands for ending its blockade of U.S. ally Qatar - which hosts the largest U.S. base in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia responded by demanding that Qatar shut down broadcaster Al Jazeera, expel non-Qataris from Qatar, stop funding other news outlets including Middle East Eye, and shut down Qatari diplomatic posts in Iran.

Left to its own devices, the Trump Administration is not going to save millions of Yemenis from Saudi-imposed famine. Saudi Arabia has defied the UN Security Council's call for ceasefire. Congress must act.

Urge your Representative to force a House vote on withdrawing U.S. backing from Saudi Arabia's war by signing our petition at MoveOn.

South Korea's new president wants diplomacy. Let's give him an "Amen!"

South Koreans have elected a new president, Moon Jae-in, who campaigned on a pledge to engage in talks with North Korea to freeze and reverse its nuclear program and pursue diplomacy to finally put an end to the Korean conflict. That's a positive development, right? But many in Washington and their allies in big media don't think so. More international tension means more profits for politically influential arms contractors, more fear, more distraction from meeting human needs, at home and abroad.

Later this month, President Moon is traveling to Washington to meet President Trump. Dominant voices in Washington will pressure the South Korean president to toe the pro-escalation line. We're teaming up with a big coalition of groups on a joint petition to generate counter-pressure to keep space open for diplomacy.

Add your name to let President Moon know we support his efforts for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

House: Back UN Call for Saudi-Yemen Cease-fire to Stop Cholera & Famine

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen. "The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Thursday to immediately agree on a cease-fire and keep all ports open for humanitarian aid to confront the threat of famine and the rapid spread of cholera," AP reported.

Urge your Rep. to force a House vote to back the UN call for ceasefire.

On June 13, using the Arms Export Control Act to force a floor vote, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to block an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Senators opposed to the deal stressed the need to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen rather than escalate it.

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Millions are at the risk of starvation...the chaos in Yemen has also been strategically disastrous for the United States, providing fertile ground for the extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS...it is long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia...it is important that we begin to discuss...the decades long effort by Saudi Arabia to export an ultra-reactionary form of Islam throughout the world."

Saudi-Yemen War-Famine Senate Vote: Praise & Protest

On June 13, 2017, the Senate narrowly failed to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, reflecting "mounting concern over the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s war," according to the New York Times. "Nearly half of the U.S. Senate sent an overwhelmingly clear message to Riyadh that ... it needs to stop killing civilians in Yemen," Human Rights Watch said.

The vote was 47-53, with 43 Democrats and 4 Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia and 48 Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia. The Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Heller (R-NV), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), and Young (R-IN). The Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Donnelly (D-IN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-FL), and Warner (D-VA). Special scorn goes to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, while Republican, pretends to care about human rights. Yet Rubio voted to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen. Special praise goes to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who excoriated Saudi Arabia's export of extremist ideology in a fiery speech on the Senate floor.

Praise and protest your Senators by signing and sharing our petition.

Then call your Senators at 1-855-68-NO-WAR [1-855-686-6927]. If they voted against Saudi Arabia, say: "Thank you for voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." If they voted in favor of Saudi Arabia, say: "Shame on you for voting to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." When you've made your calls, report them below.

Saudi-Yemen War-Famine Senate Vote: Praise & Punish

On June 13, 2017, the Senate narrowly failed to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, reflecting "mounting concern over the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s war," according to the New York Times. "Nearly half of the U.S. Senate sent an overwhelmingly clear message to Riyadh that ... it needs to stop killing civilians in Yemen," Human Rights Watch said. [1] The vote was 47-53, with 43 Democrats and 4 Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia and 48 Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia. The Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Heller (R-NV), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), and Young (R-IN). The Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Donnelly (D-IN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-FL), and Warner (D-VA). Special scorn goes to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, while Republican, pretends to care about human rights. Yet Rubio voted to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen. [2] Special praise goes to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who excoriated Saudi Arabia's export of extremist ideology in a fiery speech on the Senate floor. [3]

Call your Senators at 1-855-68-NO-WAR [1-855-686-6927]. If they voted against Saudi Arabia, say: "Thank you for voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." If they voted in favor of Saudi Arabia, say: "Shame on you for voting to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen."

When you've made your calls, please report them below.

Then "Praise and punish" your Senators by signing and sharing our petition at MoveOn.

Join Mark Pocan & Peter Beinart: "Don't Jail This 'Palestinian Gandhi'"

As Peter Beinart reports in the Forward, Hebron's Issa Amro has been preaching nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr for almost two decades. Amro's organization, Youth Against Settlements, frequently hosts Israeli activists. Amro has won awards from the UN and the EU. Amro doesn’t just oppose violence, he's gone to extraordinary lengths to stop it.

In retaliation for his advocacy of nonviolence, Beinart reports, Amro faces 18 criminal charges. If convicted, he’ll likely serve a long prison sentence. Amnesty International notes, "Some of the charges ... are not recognizable criminal offences under international standards." The changes include incitement, protesting without a permit and "insulting a soldier." Amro also faces two charges of assault. Amnesty calls these allegations "baseless," noting, "One of the charges of assault refers to an incident ... that took place after he had already been arrested and was therefore not present." Amro faces trial in a military court where the conviction rate exceeds 99%. As the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported in 2015, "A Palestinian charged in a military court is as good as convicted."

Congress: Vote NO on Trump's Saudi Arms Deal

There's a big Congressional fight coming on Trump's Saudi arms deal. This deal is controversial because Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are using U.S. weapons to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure in Yemen, deliberately trying to create famine in Yemen; and because Trump's Saudi arms deal is widely seen as a U.S. seal of approval for escalation of the catastrophic Saudi-UAE war and blockade.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress has thirty days to pass a resolution of disapproval to block the deal. Senators Chris Murphy [D-CT] and Rand Paul [R-KY] and Representatives Mark Pocan [D-WI] and Justin Amash [R-MI] are expected to introduce resolutions of disapproval within days.

On June 16, 2016, the House narrowly failed to block the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. 90% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans voted against giving Saudi Arabia these intrinsically anti-civilian weapons. To block Trump's Saudi arms deal, we have to make this be like the House Saudi cluster bomb vote, and then do just a little better than that - a few more Democrats and/or a few more Republicans.

Congress: Say Trump's Syria Strike is Illegal and Impeachable

The U.S. military launched airstrikes against government forces in Syria today.

Under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Congress has the sole authority to decide when U.S. military force will be used if the U.S. has not been attacked. Congress never authorized Trump to attack Syria, which has not attacked the U.S.

Rep. Ted Lieu [D-CA] stated: "If true, this is FRICKIN ILLEGAL. Trump does not have Congressional authorization to attack Syria, a country that has not attacked US."

In January, Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said part of why Obama didn't attack Syria unilaterally - without Congress' approval - was fear of impeachment. "[W]e had no domestic legal basis. We actually had Congress warning us against taking action without congressional authorization, which we interpreted as the president could face impeachment," Rhodes said. "They laid down markers that this would not be constitutional. If we got drawn into a conflict in Syria without congressional authorization, without international authorization, without international support, you can see very clearly how that could have completely derailed this entire presidency."

UK PM Theresa May Has Unique Power to Save Yemen From Famine

The United Nations Security Council, which under the UN Charter is responsible for protecting international peace and security, has failed to stop the Saudi-UAE war and blockade on Yemen which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. A key reason is that the UK, which under UK Prime Minister Theresa May is closely aligned with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is the Security Council "penholder" on Yemen, which means that any UN Security Council resolution on Yemen has to be drafted by the UK. Theresa May's government has abused this power to shield Saudi Arabia and the UAE from diplomatic pressure at the UN for their catastrophic actions in Yemen.

Urge Theresa May to stop blocking UN action to save Yemen by signing our petition at MoveOn.

U.N. officials have said that the threatened Saudi-UAE attack on the crucial Yemeni port of Hodeida would almost certainly push Yemen into famine by cutting off food and medicine imports into northern Yemen. But David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, says diplomatic efforts to protect Hodeida have failed. "I was hopeful two weeks ago that was about to resolve, but evidently that hasn’t happened," Beasley said.

Theresa May alone currently wields the power to initiate a Security Council resolution to save Yemen from famine by protecting Hodeida. Urge Theresa May to save Yemen from famine by signing and sharing our petition.