US Senators Demand Saudi Arabia Fulfill Financial Aid Promise to Yemen
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators condemned Saudi Arabia’s failure to provide financial aid to war-torn Yemen in a letter sent directly to the Saudi royal family.
In a letter spearheaded by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), both of whom sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. senators demanded that Saudi Arabia fulfill a commitment to provide $750 million to help the people of Yemen.
The letter, as seen by Reuters, read in part, “If the funding is not made available by the end of October, 5 million people — in a country facing the largest cholera outbreak in modern history — will lose access to clean water.”
Other senators also signed the letter, which was sent on Tuesday to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, including Republicans Rand Paul, Jerry Moran and Susan Collins. Democratic senators Benjamin Cardin, Christopher Coons and Cory Booker also signed the letter.
According to the letter, the United Nations was counting on the Saudi’s financial aid to meet the mounting demands of the Yemeni population, who have suffered through a civil war for four years now.
The United Nations recently warned of several countries’ failure to meet aid commitments and further warned that some 22 life-saving aid programs, including health services and food shortages, for Yemen could close if those countries do not provide the needed funds.
Criticism of Human Rights Abuse
Members of Congress, including Republicans, have criticized President Trump’s close ties with Riyadh and his pushing through of arms deals without the needed Congressional approval. But the criticism comes while the U.S. continues to back the Saudi-led military coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates, against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
U.S. senators have also blamed the Trump administration for what they believed to be complicity with the Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights violations, ahead of the first anniversary of the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Kashoggi. Kashoggi was a legal U.S. resident and columnist for the Washington Post who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October of 2018.
Yemen’s Civil War
The four-year-old Yemen civil war began when Houthi rebels engaged in a rebellion against the Yemeni government. Authorities in Yemen accuse the Houthi militias, with backing from Iran, of attempting to destabilize the country.
The Yemen War led to the end of the 32-year regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the late Yemeni president. The conflict has also caused the deaths and injuries of many thousands of civilians, including women and children.
Human rights groups allege the Saudi coalition has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen evidenced by famine and widespread disease. Others maintain the Saudi coalition has bombed civilian targets, including a displaced persons camp and a dairy. More than 1 million people have left Yemen to find refuge in other countries.