WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, marked the first anniversary of the Saudi Arabia-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The United States has supported the Saudi’s military actions through intelligence sharing, air-to-air refueling and military advisory assistance.
Murphy released the following statement:
“The United States should only engage in military actions that advance our national security objectives and help keep Americans safe. I have yet to see any evidence that the war we’re enabling in Yemen meets either of those conditions, and am gravely concerned that our actions in Yemen are not only distracting us from the fight against terrorism, but aiding the very groups that are intent on attacking us.
“With little public debate, the U.S. has a key role in a misguided war that has killed 3,000 innocent civilians. While all sides clearly share responsibility for the violence, the UN reported that most civilian deaths are the result of the Saudi-led coalition’s aerial bombing – including 119 civilians killed in a single strike last week. The resulting chaos has allowed for al-Qaeda to vastly expand the territory and infrastructure under its control, and provided an opening for the rise of ISIS. Anti-Americanism is spiking amidst widespread belief that the United States is responsible for the indiscriminate bombing.
“The U.S. has no business getting involved in a war that has only served to empower our terrorist enemies, exacerbate a humanitarian crisis, and incite fear and anger among the Yemeni people toward the United States.
“I am encouraged that the warring parties have agreed to a new ceasefire to begin on April 3, and UN-led negotiations have been scheduled for April. The administration must make every effort to facilitate a durable ceasefire, support serious political negotiations, and put an end to this disastrous war.”
Murphy has been a frequent and vocal critic of the United States’ support for the Saudi war in Yemen. In a January speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Murphy advocated for suspending U.S. support until the government could be certain it was not hurting efforts to fight ISIS and al Qaeda. “The United States should suspend supporting Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, at the very least, until we get assurances that this campaign does not distract from the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda, and until we make some progress on the Saudi export of Wahhabism. And Congress should not sign off on any more military sales to Saudi Arabia until similar assures are granted,” he said.