Member Login

Lost your password?

Not a member yet? Sign Up!

Sen. Young Helps Lead Letter Raising Concerns About Imminent Military Operations at Hudaydah, Yemen

June 13, 2018
By

Senator Todd Young 1-5-18 Tuesday, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) helped lead a bipartisan letter raising concerns over a reported imminent military operation to seize the port of Hudaydah. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) co-led the letter with Senator Young, and six other Senators signed the letter as well. In the letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the Senators called on the Trump Administration to work toward resurrecting a political end to the conflict before an attack on the Red Sea port city creates an additional humanitarian catastrophe that the United Nations estimates could cost 250,000 innocent lives.

“We write to express our grave alarm regarding developments in Hudaydah, Yemen. We are concerned that pending military operations by the UAE and its Yemeni partners will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis by interrupting delivery of humanitarian aid and damaging critical infrastructure. We are also deeply concerned that these operations jeopardize prospects for a near-term political resolution to the conflict,” wrote the Senators. “Humanitarian organizations and the UN repeatedly have warned that military operations at the port likely would render the area inoperable or at further reduced capacity for weeks, if not months. These are unacceptable consequences for any responsible member of the community of nations. Therefore, we urge you to strongly support Mr. Griffiths’ efforts to negotiate a resolution to this conflict and to encourage all parties to avoid steps that will further impede access by millions of Yemenis to the food, fuel, and medicine they need to survive.”

As the principal access point for humanitarian and commercial goods into Yemen, the Hudaydah port has been an ongoing point of contention for the three-year old civil war.

During an April 17 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Young pressed Ambassador David Satterfield, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, about the administration’s response if the coalition were to attack the port of Hudaydah.In response to Senator Young, a senior U.S. Agency for International Development official also testified that an attack on the port and subsequent closure could cause “catastrophic” humanitarian consequences.

On May 22, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Senator Young’s bipartisan legislation on Yemen that, among other things, seeks to end the civil war in Yemen and address the world’s largest humanitarian disaster. On June 7, Senator Young and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) announced that their provision was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). The full Senate is now considering the NDAA.

Joining the Senators in sending the letter today were Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jeanne Shaheen.

A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE and below.

June 12, 2018

 

The Honorable Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State

Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

 

The Honorable James Mattis

Secretary of Defense

Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

 

Dear Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis:

 

We write to express our grave alarm regarding developments in Hudaydah, Yemen. We are concerned that pending military operations by the United Arab Emirates and its Yemeni partners will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis by interrupting delivery of humanitarian aid and damaging critical infrastructure. We are also deeply concerned that these operations jeopardize prospects for a near-term political resolution to the conflict.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are U.S. partners facing an unacceptable threat in Yemen. The Houthis – enabled by the Iranian regime – have acquired increasingly sophisticated land and anti-ship missiles that threaten freedom of navigation in vital waterways and terrorize the people of Saudi Arabia. Recent actions by the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on Iranian entities providing illicit materials to the Houthis in Yemen are a welcome and overdue step.

Over the course of more than three years of war in Yemen, U.S. officials have consistently stated that there is no military solution to this conflict. Senior Saudi and Emirati officials have echoed this. It is therefore urgent for the U.S. to reassert its leadership by supporting UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, encouraging all stakeholders to consider confidence-building measures toward de-escalation of military operations, and swiftly returning to negotiations that will end the suffering of Yemen’s people. Mr. Griffiths announced his intent to present a new framework for peace negotiations in mid-June, having spent the past few months meeting with a broad range of stakeholders in the Yemen war. In April, Mr. Griffiths warned the UN Security Council that an attack on Hudaydah “would, in a single stroke, take peace off the table.”

During the April 17 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, State and Defense Department witnesses noted that the Port of Hudaydah is the principal access point for all humanitarian and commercial goods into Yemen, and highlighted the humanitarian implications of even a temporary closure of the port. In a June 10 Wall Street Journal article, the top UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen stated that 250,000 of Hudaydah’s residents could lose their lives during military operations. The UN also reports that 340,000 people could be displaced as forces advance toward the city of Hudaydah. Humanitarian organizations and the UN repeatedly have warned that military operations at the port likely would render the area inoperable or at further reduced capacity for weeks, if not months. These are unacceptable consequences for any responsible member of the community of nations. Therefore, we urge you to strongly support Mr. Griffiths’ efforts to negotiate a resolution to this conflict and to encourage all parties to avoid steps that will further impede access by millions of Yemenis to the food, fuel, and medicine they need to survive.

 

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.