US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rebuked senators for passing a resolution to end Washington’s support for the Saudi war on Yemen, saying they should back Riyadh if they “truly care about Yemeni lives.”
In comments to the media in Washington on Friday, Pompeo claimed the vote showed that American senators do not care about the Yemeni people.
“If you truly care about Yemeni lives, you’d support the Saudi-led effort to prevent Yemen from turning into a puppet state of … Iran,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Republican-led Senate approved the resolution to halt US military assistance for the Saudi offensive against Yemen by a 54 to 46 tally.
The measure now heads to the Democrat-led House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.
A similar resolution to end US support for the Saudi war on Yemen passed the Senate in December, but it was not taken up under the then-Republican-controlled House. For the resolution to reach the president’s desk, it will have to go back to the House for approval.
The US provides intelligence sharing, logistics support and other training to the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging the war on Yemen since March 2015. It also previously helped with mid-air refueling for warplanes operated by Riyadh and its allies, but that assistance ended last November.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said, “The bottom line is that the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a dangerous and irresponsible foreign policy.”
Pompeo, however, said the Trump administration believes that suspending the US role would not end the Yemen conflict.
“We all want to improve the dire humanitarian situation. But the Trump administration fundamentally disagrees that curbing our assistance to the Saudi-led coalition is the way to achieve these goals,” he said.
Pompeo also argued that the way to “alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat Houthi Ansarullah fighters.
Saudi Arabia and its partners launched the war in an attempt to reinstall Riyadh-allied former regime and crush the Houthis, who have been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government.
The Western-backed aggression against Yemen, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed the country’s infrastructure and led to famine as well as a cholera outbreak.
So far, the aggressors have been unable to penetrate the defenses of the Yemeni nation and Houthi fighters.