more than Two months after progressive members of Congress asked President Joe Biden to tell him that he would continue to offer Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the administration responded with a two-page letter that addresses the question – And almost no one provides the other details members demanded.
Biden won from Democrats when he announced in February that he would “end all US support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.” But since then, progressives in Congress have been pressing the administration to explain its precise meaning, specifically how the administration would differentiate between “offensive” and “defensive” weapons and operations by the Saudi and United Arab Emirates-led coalition.
forty one members of congress asked the administration To clarify what types of “military, intelligence, military, or other” aid the US was providing under President Donald Trump, which of them would continue, and how the administration would define “offensive operations.”
The two-page State Department reply – which finally arrived on Wednesday, more than two months after the date that members of Congress asked the administration to respond – does not provide any new information. This refers to the suspension of “sales of two air-to-ground battleships and ongoing reviews of other systems”, all of which have previously notified, and fails to address what other forms of “offensive” support have been put off, if any, or which weapons sales are likely to eventually escalate.
In a statement to The Intercept, D-Orre’s representative Peter DeFazio called the response a “disappointing non-response from the Biden administration” and said he would continue to seek further details.
“For months I have pressed them for answers about how they plan to end the ‘aggressive campaigns’ aiding the Saudi-led coalition, and to continue US involvement in conflicts not authorized by Congress. What legal authority do they have for this – as required under the Constitution,” DeFazio said. “Yet the Saudi blockade of Yemen and the resulting humanitarian crisis continues to no end. Receiving such a contingency response from the State Department Disappointing, and I will continue to push for real answers.”
“It’s disappointing to receive this kind of response from the State Department.”
The US has supported the intervention of Saudi Arabia and the UAE since it began in 2015. Under both Presidents Barack Obama and Trump, the US has provided intelligence, arms sales, and other forms of military support. The Trump administration stopped refueling in the air for Saudi planes, but it is unclear what other support has continued. Defense Department spokesman confirmed Vowel That DoD may allow the sale of Saudi warplanes and some weapons to US contractors, including a $23 billion sale of advanced air hardware to the United Arab Emirates. is expected to continue.
“In order to protect Saudi Arabia from the very real threat from air and sea attacks, the United States must defend itself against threats to Saudi Arabia, its people, and the more than 70,000 American citizens living in Saudi Arabia. Will continue to support with, the State Department’s letter said.
Photo: Mohamed Hammoud/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The conflict in Yemen has sparked one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, and aid groups have criticized both sides of the conflict for restricting the free flow of vital goods into the country. The letter emphasizes that Biden is seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict, noting the administration’s appointment of a special envoy, Tim Lenderking, to seek a diplomatic end to the conflict. The letter added that the lender “continues to engage with our partners in the region and continues to emphasize that it opposes restrictions on the flow of goods to the United States and throughout Yemen.”
Democratic Reps. Ted Liu of California and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey asked Borrowing during an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month whether US military support to the Saudi and UAE-led coalition has been discontinued. Lenderking said he was “completely not in that information loop” and did not respond. Liu and Malinowxi sent a follow-up letter seeking clarification, but a Democratic aide who was not authorized to speak on the record told The Intercept that the administration had not yet answered the question.
(On Friday, after this story was published, Naz Durakoglu, the acting assistant secretary of the State Department for Legislative Affairs, wrote in a second letter that the department was responsible for “logistics, spare parts, maintenance, and the Saudi-led coalition” for US companies. Other support for aircraft.” That letter characterized such support as defensive in nature. “These aircraft are critical in defending Saudi Arabia against cross-border attacks, including attack by armed UAVs,” the letter said. role play.”
California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, another author of the February letter, expressed disappointment last month about the administration’s sluggish response. “There is growing frustration among House members and senators about the administration’s response to the blockade and potentially continued intelligence and spare parts to Saudi,” he said. tweeted. “Letters unanswered. Talk to the hill if a [war powers resolution] is needed,” citing previous measures directed Trump to end US support for the intervention.
In a statement to The Intercept, Khanna said he would use the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress’s annual defense policy bill, to advance the Biden administration on the issue. “I’m dealing with Senator [Bernie] To Sanders and other allies to ensure that we use our cooperation with Saudi Arabia to end the blockade, end US military support for the Coalition, and move toward a peaceful solution that ends the conflict.” Khanna said.
Update: June 2, 2021
This story has been updated to include material from a second letter sent by the State Department after the article was originally published.
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