WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration for certifying that “the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments” as well as taking measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and undertaking an urgent and good faith effort to support diplomatic efforts to end the civil war. Much of the evidence cited in the certification by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo contradicts these conclusions. Last month, the coalition bombed a school bus, killing 44 children and 10 adults.
“How can the Trump administration deny what everyone can see with our own two eyes? It is as clear as day that Saudi-led coalition is recklessly - and likely intentionally - killing innocent civilians and children, and they’re doing it with U.S. bombs and so-called targeting assistance. These certifications are a farce and we should all be ashamed that our government is turning a blind eye to likely war crimes,” said Murphy.
“U.S. involvement in Yemen will be a black mark on our nation's history. The facts on the ground all point to the exact opposite conclusions than the ones the Administration certified today. Civilian deaths are increasing, not decreasing, with nearly every year growing more deadly than the last. The horrific attack on a school bus was only the latest in a recent list of atrocities. And right now, the coalition is preparing to encircle the port city of Hudaydah, which will cut off vitally needed humanitarian aid to most of the population. The Saudis continue to attack water infrastructure and obstruct humanitarian aid, and a new wave of cholera is sweeping the country. Diplomacy hasn’t gained serious traction mostly because the U.S. continues to provide a virtual blank check to the coalition's military campaign,” Murphy added.
Last month, Murphy renewed his call to cease support for the Saudi-led campaign following a United Nations report that found continued human rights violations. Earlier this year, Murphy introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and US policy related to the protection of civilians. Senate Republicans objected to voting on Murphy’s amendment.
Murphy has been a vocal critic of U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaigns in Yemen that has led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy has repeatedly expressed concern that U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s military actions against Houthi rebels in Yemen threatens our own national security interests. Murphy introduced a bipartisan resolution with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Murphy introduced similar legislation last year. In June, Murphy and colleagues sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to take action before an attack on the port of Hudaydah.