August 20, 2018

In Wake Of School Bus Bombing, Kaine Cosponsors Amendment To Halt Funding For War In Yemen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, cosponsored an amendment to the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations bill to cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certifies the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and U.S. policy related to the protection of civilians. The amendment, introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), comes in the wake of a horrific school bus bombing, which killed 44 children and 10 adults and highlighted the Saudi coalition’s repeated strikes on innocent civilian targets.

“In support of the Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign against the Houthis – by providing aircraft, weapons, training, intelligence and refueling -  the U.S. has inserted itself into another war without a debate and vote in Congress.  The results have been tragic, including the loss of 10,000 civilian lives and the strengthening of al-Qaeda. The unjustifiable bombing of a school bus in Yemen with a U.S.-supplied weapon should be a call to action for Congress and the Administration to end U.S. military assistance for this civil war and focus negotiations through a peace process,” Kaine said.

According to the United Nations, up to one-third of all Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit civilian targets. Data shows there has been a 37% increase in civilian casualties from airstrikes in 2018 compared to 2017 (up to 778 from 567).

Already considered one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, it is calculated that the Yemen conflict has:

·        Killed more than 10,000 civilians and wounded 40,000 more

·        Left 22.2 million Yemenis – more than 80% of the entire population – requiring humanitarian assistance;

·        Caused the loss of more than 50% of Yemen’s nighttime electricity, a key condition for maintaining hospitals, water supply systems, and communications;

·        Left 8 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation;

·        Produced the largest cholera outbreak in modern history.

For years, Kaine has been outspoken about Presidents’ efforts to expand the use of military force without congressional authorization and he has called into question U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military actions in Yemen.  In May, Kaine questioned U.S. Special Forces supporting Saudi Arabia in the battle against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. And in March, Kaine supported a joint resolution to direct the removal of U.S. Armed forces from hostilities in Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.