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U.S. Moves Closer to Ending Military Support for War in Yemen


This week, the U.S. Senate voted to consider ending America’s role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Such a move would mark an end to the United States participation in a civil war that has led to the death of thousands and suffering of millions. Though, peace science warns of the lasting effects of foreign military support.

 In the News:

“The GOP-controlled [United States] Senate voted on Wednesday to seriously consider ending America’s role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In a 63-37 vote, lawmakers discharged a bill…that would force the US to cease its support for the Saudi-led coalition in its bloody fight against the Houthi rebels in Yemen within 30 days. The White House, however, has threatened to veto final passage of the bill. The US helps the Saudi-led coalition by providing them with intelligence, selling them arms and ammunition, and, until recently, fueling planes in the conflict that has left tens of thousands dead and millions more suffering from starvation and disease. That means the US is partially culpable for the death and destruction of Houthi fighters and even civilians.”

“Wednesday’s vote came just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis briefed senators in a White House-directed effort to garner opposition to the bill. They argued that the war would be worse without America’s involvement, mainly because the US helps the Saudi-led coalition not kill as many civilians. But while lawmakers have previously been receptive to this argument — in fact, the exact same measure failed in the Senate in March in a 55 to 44 vote — they evidently weren’t convinced this time around. And a big reason for that is the murder of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi in October…It’s the first time that a congressional chamber moved a War Powers Resolution-linked bill forward, showing how negatively senators from both parties view the Yemen war and US support for Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi’s murder.”

Support from Peace Science:

  • Intervention can weaken a target government and other domestic institutions, reducing their ability to provide public services or forcing the government to redirect PQOL resources to the military.
  • Intervention can damage physical infrastructure (hospitals, schools, roads, industrial plants, communication networks, etc.). Public health will diminish if access to providers is disrupted, literacy rates will go down when schools are destroyed, and access to goods and services will be affected when roads are blocked.
  • Intervention can produce internally displaced people that can overwhelm operating health and education services.
  • Intervention can lead to a breakdown in the rule of law, potentially increasing the rate of looting, violence, and other criminal activity.
  • Intervention can damage the local environment, reducing access to potable water and arable land.
  • Consequences of any of the above may result in physical and/or psychological trauma.
  • Between 1960 and 2005, 106 countries have suffered reduced quality of life due to foreign military interventions.
  • In both democracies and non-democracies, foreign military interventions reduce local quality of life to 20% of what it was before the intervention.
  • In former non-democracies, the annual growth rate of physical quality of life post-intervention is 68% higher than before military intervention—most likely due to the reformation or removal of ineffective and/or brutal governments.


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