Advisory: Press Conference to Denounce Todd Young-Jeanne Shaheen Bill to Starve Yemeni Children
For Immediate Release
Peace Action - Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain - CODEPINK - Just Foreign Policy
March 12, 2018
Washington - Peace and human rights groups opposed to U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war and blockade in Yemen will hold a press conference on Monday March 12, 2018 at noon in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office building to announce their opposition to the Todd Young-Jeanne Shaheen bill that would continue U.S. participation in the war indefinitely, to call on Young and Shaheen to withdraw their bill, to call on Young and Shaheen to withdraw their threat to substitute the Young-Shaheen bill in place of the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill to end U.S. participation in the war, and to call on Young and Shaheen to pledge to oppose any effort to substitute the Young-Shaheen bill for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill on the Senate floor.
After the press conference, the groups will go to Shaheen's office and then to Young's office to press their demands. The groups will deliver petitions signed by New Hampshire and Indiana residents in support of their demands.
The Young-Shaheen bill would allow U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen to continue if Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "certifies" to Congress that the Government of Saudi Arabia is undertaking "(1) an urgent and good faith effort to conduct diplomatic negotiations to end the civil war in Yemen; and (2) appropriate measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by increasing access for all Yemenis to food, fuel, and medicine."
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has announced a plan to remove the governorate of Hodeida from the Yemeni civil war. The plan includes a ceasefire for the port, including the halt of any attacks on the port by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [UAE].
The UN-recognized Yemeni government and Egypt have reportedly announced their support for the plan, but the United States, a key party to the conflict because of its refueling of Saudi and UAE warplanes bombing Yemen, has not yet publicly stated its support. As Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy has said, "The Saudis simply could not operate this bombing campaign without us. Their planes can't fly without US refueling capacity."
Urge Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, to publicly state US support for the UN Envoy's plan to save Hodeida and Yemen from famine by signing our petition at MoveOn.
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. 
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
On Thursday April 27, a bipartisan group of nine U.S. Senators wrote to the ambassador of Saudi Arabia demanding that Saudi Arabia spare the Yemeni port city of Hodeida from military assault to avoid pushing Yemen into famine. The nine Senators were: Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Boozman (R-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Christopher Coons (D-DL) and Ed Markey (D-MA).
Urge your representatives to stand with the nine Senators demanding that "Hodeida must be spared" by signing our petition at MoveOn.
The nine Senators made five demands to help “Prevent Millions of Innocent Yemenis From Starving to Death":
- Lend full support to Secretary Mattis’ call for a political settlement in Yemen.
- Refrain from bombing the port of Hodeida and call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire around the port.
- Reform the inspection regime at the port of Hodeida to eliminate unnecessary delays in the delivery of severely needed humanitarian and commercial supplies.
- Facilitate the delivery of cranes to the port of Hodeida to increase humanitarian aid and commercial capacity.
- Redouble efforts to ensure airstrikes do not hit key economic facilities and civilian infrastructure.
Urge your representatives to join the nine Senators in telling Saudi Arabia "Hodeida must be spared" by signing and sharing our petition.
Action Against Hunger * Médecins du Monde * Norwegian Refugee Council * Saferworld * Save the Children * Tearfund * War Child
Hudaydah Port, Yemen: Humanitarian joint statement, 25 April 2017
As humanitarian organisations operating in Yemen, we are gravely concerned by reports of a possible attack by the Saudi-led coalition on the critical port of Hudaydah. Such an attack risks tipping a country starved by two years of war into near certain famine, risking the lives of millions. The crisis in Yemen cannot be addressed with a military solution. Rather than fuelling more conflict, we urge the US and the UK, as key supporters of the Saudi-led coalition, to use their influence to urge all parties to the conflict to re-double their efforts to forge a political solution and take immediate steps to address the humanitarian crisis.
Progressive French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon - the "French Bernie Sanders" - is now a "frontrunner" in the first round of the French presidential election. That is giving him an unprecedented platform in global media, which he has used, among other things, to challenge Trump's military attack on Syria. When he addressed tens of thousands of people in Toulouse Sunday, the crowd roared when Mélenchon slammed Trump over Trump's illegal attack on Syria. "No Frenchman can accept a global gendarme who decided all by himself the good and the bad," Mélenchon said.
Urge Mélenchon to challenge Trump's support for Saudi Arabia's catastrophic war in Yemen by signing our petition at MoveOn.
As a leader of what will soon be the only EU country with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Mélenchon has a unique ability to serve as a "check and balance" on Trump's global warmongering. It was France that led the global opposition to Bush's illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. If Mélenchon can stand up to Trump on Syria, he can stand up to Trump on Saudi Arabia's catastrophic war in Yemen, which the Trump Administration wants to escalate. Trump Administration officials want to help Saudi Arabia and the UAE attack the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which the UN, aid groups, former US officials, and 55 Members of the House have warned would likely push Yemen into famine.
Urge Mélenchon to challenge Trump's support for Saudi Arabia's catastrophic war in Yemen by signing and sharing our petition.
On March 23, a bipartisan group of ten Senators urged Secretary of State Tillerson to launch an urgent diplomatic effort to address obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it. They specifically called for opening Yemen's Hodeida port to humanitarian aid to avert famine.
Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
"Thank you for calling for opening Hodeida to humanitarian aid. I urge you to use your ability to reject arms deals to force Saudi Arabia to comply with your demand."
When you've made your call, please report it below.
About Yemen, the ten Senators wrote:
"In Yemen, the World Food Program estimates that 80% of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In short, millions of innocent people will starve to death without concerted and urgent action in the coming weeks…In Yemen, we ask that the Department of State work urgently with stakeholders to persuade combatants to permit humanitarian groups increased access to Red Sea ports like Hodeida to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities."
Former U.S. officials have said that failure to open Hodeida to food imports could tip Yemen into famine.