by Willy B
President Trump’s April 17 veto of the Congressional resolution calling for the ending of US support to the Saudi war in Yemen, it seems, won‛t end the conflict in that country, regardless of what side you’re on. Trump claimed that the US has a "duty to protect the safety of the more than 80,000 Americans who reside in certain coalition countries that have been subject to Houthi attacks from Yemen.” He gave Saudi Arabia as one example where he said the “Houthis, supported by Iran, have used missiles, armed drones, and explosive boats to attack civilian and military targets in those coalition countries.” Never mind that the Houthi rocket attacks are solely a response to the unrelenting Saudi bombing campaign that has killed thousands of civilians and wrecked Yemen‛s ability to feed itself.
The unanswered question at this point is to what degree was John Bolton responsible for Trump’s decision to veto the resolution. On April 13, that is, four days prior to the veto, the Washington Examiner reported that backers of the resolution had sent a letter to Trump asking for a meeting to discuss it, but that the White House ahd not responded. While the White House staff had recommended vetoing the bill, Trump himself had been more open to it, saying earlier that the matter was "very serious" and that he would have more to say later. Sponsors of the legislation believed Trump was willing to sign the bill, but was being told by his staff, led Bolton, that he should not. "I think his advisers are at odds with where he is … advisers in the administration have their own interests and may not be giving him the full picture," said Ro Khanna D-Calif., one of the key sponsors of the bill in the House. Trump allies including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, signed the letter requesting a meeting, as did Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, i-Vt. "I really believe if Rand Paul, myself, Matt Gaetz, and Mike Lee got in a room with him, we would persuade the president. The challenge is, are his advisers going to allow us to do it?" Khanna said.
"The president's a dove. He has dovish tendencies," Gaetz told Vice News this week. "I think that if we get some time with him, we can make our argument about how the war in Yemen runs afoul of the Trump doctrine."
Even after the veto, Khanna was conciliatory towards Trump but vowed to continue the fight. “From a president elected on the promise of putting a stop to our endless wars, this veto is a painful missed opportunity, Khanna said. "The Yemen War Powers Resolution was a bipartisan, bicameral effort to end the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and supported by some of the president’s most trusted Republican allies."
In Sana’a, the veto is being seen as a betrayal Yemeni civilians and a sign that the Saudi bombing campaign will continue. In an article written by a Yemeni journalist in Sana'a, Mintpress News reports that tens of thousands of Yemenis held demonstrations in the country’s capital, Sana`a, Hodeida, Sada`a and others provinces on Friday to condemn Trump's veto of the resolution. “My message is only to the American people: is spilling more Yemeni blood acceptable to you?” a man in his seventies told MintPress. Yemenis who spoke to MintPress about the move said they view Trump’s veto against ending U.S. involvement in their country as immoral and fear that it will enable the Saudi-led Coalition to commit more crimes against their people, who they insist have done nothing to the U.S. and pose no threat to it.
Fighting between the Houthis and the forces of the Saudi/UAE backed government has intensified in recent weeks, but UN Envoy Martin Griffiths expressed optimism about the situation in Hodeidah during an April 15 briefing to the UN Security Council. He said that while the process has been slow and protracted, progress is being made on the mutual withdrawal from Hodeidah that both sides agreed to in Sweden last December. “I am happy to announce to you Mr. President that both parties have now accepted the detailed redeployment plan, prepared by General Michael Lollesgaard [the retired Danish general who heads the UN monitoring mission] for phase one of the redeployments in Hodeida," he said. "And we will now move with all speed towards resolving the final outstanding issues related to the operational plans for phase two, redeployments and also the issue of the status of local security forces we're introducing in the coming days." He not only praised Lollesgaard for this progress but also both Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Saudi puppet president, and Abdul Malik al Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah in Sana'a.
Griffiths stressed two other inter-related points: While the search for a political solution to the war has been more or less on hold while the Hodeidah cease fire is being worked out, progress in Hodeidah is vital for that eventual political solution. At the same time, the groundwork for political consultations must be laid because the war in the rest of the country shows no signs of abating.