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OffbeatDespite Yemen vote, no Saudi policy changes likely until next year

05:40  07 december  2018
05:40  07 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

Senate advances Yemen resolution in rebuke to Trump

Senate advances Yemen resolution in rebuke to Trump The Senate advanced a resolution on Wednesday to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, dealing a significant blow to the Trump administration. The Senate voted 63-37 to discharge the resolution from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A simple majority was needed to move it forward. The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), would require Trump to withdraw any troops in "or affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda.

Lawmakers have no immediate means to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the humanitarian disaster in Yemen . The Senate is poised to respond to the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a historic vote next week aimed at ending U.S. support for

© Getty Images Yemen The Senate on Wednesday moved toward voting to end U.S. support for the Saudi -led military campaign in Yemen .Senators voted The bipartisan vote was 54 to 46, and is a rebuke to President Donald Trump's support of Saudi Arabia and its leader despite recent tensions.

Despite Yemen vote, no Saudi policy changes likely until next year© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker speaks to reporters after a closed-door security briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the involvement of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.

The Senate is poised to respond to the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a historic vote next week aimed at ending U.S. support for Saudi hostilities in Yemen — but it will almost certainly take until next year before sweeping changes to Saudi policy stand a chance of clearing Congress.

Deadly fighting erupts in Yemen's Hodeida

Deadly fighting erupts in Yemen's Hodeida Renewed violence in Yemen's vital port city of Hodeida has left 10 fighters dead, despite a UN push for peace talks, an official and medical sources told AFP on Saturday. An official with pro-government forces said fighting erupted in the east and south of the Red Sea city on Friday, while Huthi rebels on their television channel referred to an exchange of tank fire. Intermittent clashes continued on Saturday, Hodeida residents told AFP by phone. The violence follows a visit to the city last month by UN envoy Martin Griffiths to press for talks aimed at ending the war which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

In April, lawmakers voted to end American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen by invoking the rarely used War Powers Act of 1973 No other foreign policy issue has created as large a rift between the president and Congress, and the vote to block the arms sales deepens the divide.

Injured Yemeni fighters in Durayhimi last year . The nearly four- year conflict in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and inflicted a devastating famine.Credit But the conflict in Yemen is proving to be different. Senators sponsoring their own resolution are expected to act quickly to force a vote , as

Growing momentum to punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for ordering Khashoggi’s killing — and rebuke President Trump for supporting Mohammed’s denials — is running into a traditional biannual roadblock: the end of the congressional session. With only days left on the legislative calendar, leaders are loath to devote precious floor time to anything that isn’t already a must-do — a limitation that threatens to leave the most substantive Saudi proposals unaddressed.

“We don’t have time this year,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said, ticking off the major proposals on offer: sanctions against Saudi officials, a moratorium on weapons transfers, an official condemnation of the crown prince and a move to end U.S. involvement in Saudi’s Yemen campaign. Somewhere between them all, Graham guessed, lies a compromise bill that can secure veto-proof support.

Senators wrestle with rebuke of Saudis for Khashoggi killing

Senators wrestle with rebuke of Saudis for Khashoggi killing Senators are considering multiple pieces of legislation to formally rebuke Saudi Arabia for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with momentum building for a resolution to call Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman complicit in the killing.Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Thursday that senators are looking at moving three measures — a resolution to condemn the crown prince for Khashoggi's murder, a bill to suspend arms sales to the kingdom and a resolution to call on President Donald Trump's administration to pull back U.S. help for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Corker said the Yemen war and Khashoggi killing have likely set back the two countries' relationship for years to come. "So to our friends in Saudi Arabia, you're never going to have a relationship with the United States Senate unless things change , and it's up to you to figure out what that change should

The armed conflict in Yemen has killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians since it began. The actual civilian casualties are likely much higher. Thousands more have been displaced by the Despite mounting evidence of violations of international law by the parties to the conflict, efforts

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But striking the balance will take time, and “I just don’t think we have time to do all that right now,” Graham said.

The only Saudi-related measure that the Senate is guaranteed to take up this year is a resolution from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to invoke the War Powers Act and end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Passing the Yemen resolution would send a powerful political signal, though some senators dispute how much it could affect U.S.-Saudi cooperation, following the Trump administration’s decision last month to stop refueling Saudi planes. Washington continues to provide Saudi Arabia with intelligence and logistical support.

Nonetheless, the resolution secured an unprecedented 63 votes last week to clear an opening procedural hurdle, and if it remains largely unchanged, is expected to sustain enough support to proceed past the Senate, according to both its supporters and critics. But odds are lawmakers will not be able to force House leaders to give it a vote before the end of the year — and there is nothing preventing Trump from vetoing the measure.

South Yemenis demand independence vote at UN talks

South Yemenis demand independence vote at UN talks A small group of southern Yemenis staged a protest outside the venue of UN peace talks in Sweden on Wednesday demanding a referendum to restore independence. Waving the flag of former south Yemen -- featuring a bright blue triangle with a red star -- some 30 southerners called for freedom under the watchful eye of Swedish police. Southern Yemen was an independent country until the 1990 unification under president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a northerner who ruled for more than three decades and was killed by his rebel allies in 2017.

The votes came only hours after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo implored members of the House of Representatives during a closed-door briefing to continue the military advising, logistics support and intelligence that have for years been shared with Saudi Arabia.

For a change in Saudi policy to have the most impact, it must be coupled with a broader pullout of foreign powers and a ceasefire among Yemen ’s many Pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia to pull out of Yemen . The Pentagon announced on November 9 that it would stop aerial refueling of Saudi

The Yemen resolution is also an unlikely vehicle for other Saudi-related legislation seeking to deliver punitive blows to the kingdom. To avoid losing support for the resolution, senators are planning to narrowly limit the scope of amendments that can be attached to it — and supporters say no other Saudi-related legislation will make the cut.

The only way to include something like a sanctions bill “would be to open the door to all types of amendments, and that would be a disaster,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who co-wrote a bill to sanction Saudi officials and end weapons transfers with Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), Graham and others.

That leaves only one other potential vehicle open to Saudi legislation: a spending bill that Congress must pass by Dec. 21. But leading appropriators simply do not want to weigh it down.

“The fewer things we put on the approps bill, the better chance of passage,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) said Thursday. “I’d rather deal with appropriations for the most part and keep legislation off, anywhere I can.”

Paul Ryan blocks House from taking up Yemen bill

Paul Ryan blocks House from taking up Yemen bill House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday pushed language through the House that will prevent lawmakers from taking up any resolution to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen this year. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The language was passed just as the Senate was set to start debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, a response to anger over Saudi Arabia's involvement in the death of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Against that backdrop, a bipartisan group of senators met Thursday morning to hash out how best to proceed with efforts to counter Saudi Arabia and circumvent Trump’s reluctance to criticize its leader. Republican lawmakers emerged from the meeting agitating for a committee markup next week to improve sanctions legislation and try to build support for it from across the political spectrum.

“If nothing else, if we could just roll out a new product that get 60 co-sponsors, that’d be a good place to start . . . it’s the product that becomes your jumping-off point for next year,” Graham said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is retiring at the end of the year, also advocated a full-steam-ahead approach, reasoning it would only make it easier to revive legislation down the line.

“It’s not like it’s going away; I mean, this is going to be brought back up next year,” Corker said.

But many lawmakers are worried that Corker’s successor, Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho) will not be as amenable to moving Saudi measures through the Senate. While Corker is one of Trump’s biggest critics, Risch is one of the president’s closest congressional allies and known for being a staunch partisan.

But in an interview Thursday, Risch indicated that whatever his personal preferences on dealing with Saudi Arabia might be, he would seek to honor consensus on the issue.

“The consensus seems to be this isn’t going to go away until there’s something done,” he said.

karoun.demirjian@washpost.com

Senate votes to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for Khashoggi killing.
Minutes earlier, the Senate approved a resolution to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen as lawmakers continue to express outrage and frustration with the president’s refusal to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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