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Senators Can Save Yemen From Saudi-Imposed Famine: They Must Act

Monday, June 12, 2017 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed
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A woman and children at the Majara camp for displaced Yemenis, north of Abs, in Hajjah Province, Yemen, October 25, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia bombing them, with American help. Fighting has displaced more than 2.5 million people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times) A woman and children at the Majara camp for displaced Yemenis, north of Abs, in Hajjah Province, Yemen, October 25, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia bombing them, with US help. Fighting has displaced more than 2.5 million people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

Recent reports suggest that the Senate is likely to vote on Trump's Saudi arms deal after 2 pm Eastern Time this Tuesday in a roll call on US participation in the Saudi-United Arab Emirates war and blockade on Yemen, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, with millions of human beings at risk of starvation.

This is a winnable fight:

1. Last September four Senate Republicans joined 23 Senate Democrats to vote against Obama's Saudi tank deal. Three of those four Republicans are still in the Senate: Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Dean Heller. There are now 48 Senate Democrats. Forty-eight plus three equals 51. If we can get all or almost all Senate Democrats to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal plus a handful of Republicans, we can win.

2. Last September, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin -- top Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations -- voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Senator Cardin said he would vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, because Trump doesn't have a plan to end the Saudi war in Yemen, and because Trump refused to use his arms deal as leverage to pressure the Saudis to end the war and save Yemen from famine. Senator Cardin's pledge to vote against the deal is a key signal that will help other Senate Democrats vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

3. Last September, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Senator Merkley co-sponsored the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

4. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal last September, and Sen. Tim Kaine, who missed the vote, have publicly indicated that they are leaning towards voting with Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Al Franken this time against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

What will make the most difference now is how many phone calls we can generate to the Senate. Just Foreign Policy is tallying calls via Friends Committee on National Legislation's toll-free number: 1-855-68-NO-WAR (1-855-686-6927). So far more than 1,000 people have called, which is a good start. But only a handful of people have called so far from Indiana and West Virginia. We need more calls to the Senate, especially from purple and reddish America.

Here's what I said when I called my Senators: "Vote to save Yemen from Saudi-imposed famine. Vote to support the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal. Make a public statement on how you'll vote."

When you've made your calls, you can report them here.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Senators Can Save Yemen From Saudi-Imposed Famine: They Must Act

Monday, June 12, 2017 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

A woman and children at the Majara camp for displaced Yemenis, north of Abs, in Hajjah Province, Yemen, October 25, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia bombing them, with American help. Fighting has displaced more than 2.5 million people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times) A woman and children at the Majara camp for displaced Yemenis, north of Abs, in Hajjah Province, Yemen, October 25, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia bombing them, with US help. Fighting has displaced more than 2.5 million people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

Recent reports suggest that the Senate is likely to vote on Trump's Saudi arms deal after 2 pm Eastern Time this Tuesday in a roll call on US participation in the Saudi-United Arab Emirates war and blockade on Yemen, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, with millions of human beings at risk of starvation.

This is a winnable fight:

1. Last September four Senate Republicans joined 23 Senate Democrats to vote against Obama's Saudi tank deal. Three of those four Republicans are still in the Senate: Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Dean Heller. There are now 48 Senate Democrats. Forty-eight plus three equals 51. If we can get all or almost all Senate Democrats to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal plus a handful of Republicans, we can win.

2. Last September, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin -- top Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations -- voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Senator Cardin said he would vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, because Trump doesn't have a plan to end the Saudi war in Yemen, and because Trump refused to use his arms deal as leverage to pressure the Saudis to end the war and save Yemen from famine. Senator Cardin's pledge to vote against the deal is a key signal that will help other Senate Democrats vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

3. Last September, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Senator Merkley co-sponsored the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

4. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal last September, and Sen. Tim Kaine, who missed the vote, have publicly indicated that they are leaning towards voting with Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Al Franken this time against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

What will make the most difference now is how many phone calls we can generate to the Senate. Just Foreign Policy is tallying calls via Friends Committee on National Legislation's toll-free number: 1-855-68-NO-WAR (1-855-686-6927). So far more than 1,000 people have called, which is a good start. But only a handful of people have called so far from Indiana and West Virginia. We need more calls to the Senate, especially from purple and reddish America.

Here's what I said when I called my Senators: "Vote to save Yemen from Saudi-imposed famine. Vote to support the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal. Make a public statement on how you'll vote."

When you've made your calls, you can report them here.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.