WASHINGTON – In a historic bipartisan rebuke to the president and a marked shift in America’s long-standing alliance with Saudi Arabia, the Senate voted Thursday to force the Trump administration to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Although the measure will stall in the House for now, the Senate’s 56-41 vote still carried extraordinary significance – marking the first time the Senate has invoked Congress’ war powers to challenge U.S. military involvement abroad. The step was both a condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Yemen war – which has killed thousands of civilians and created a humanitarian catastrophe – and of the kingdom’s role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
“Today, we tell the despotic regime in Saudi Arabia that we will not be a part of their military adventurism,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who championed U.S. withdraw from the Yemen conflict along with Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah. “The United States Congress … is sick and tired of abdicating its constitutional responsibility on matters of war,” Sanders added.
Senators also unanimously approved a separate, nonbinding resolution naming Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, as responsible for Khashoggi’s death. The Washington Post columnist was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi operatives, many of whom have been tied to the crown prince.
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