June 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after it was reported that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates initiated an offensive in the port city of Hodeidah. The port is a major lifeline for Yemen, as the majority of food and aid enters through Hodeidah. In 2018, Rep. Lieu authored two provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act  that will bring critical congressional oversight to the conflict in Yemen for the first time. Sec. 1265 requires the Departments of Defense and State to report to Congress on whether the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are abiding by their commitments in Yemen. Sec. 1275 requires the President to submit a detailed report that contains a military and diplomatic strategy for Yemen.

"For three years I’ve been calling on U.S. officials to hold the Saudi and Emeriti-led coalition accountable for avoidable civilian casualties in Yemen. I’ve long pushed for better Congressional oversight on the U.S.’s involvement in this conflict, which isn’t any closer to ending. I’ve sought reassurances that the U.S.’s support for the coalition meets humanitarian & law of war standards. But here we are, in the midst of a military attack in the port city of Hodeidah, witnessing an action that the Trump Administration in April explicitly told the coalition not to execute. 

At this point, the U.S. has a duty to discontinue supporting the coalition’s operations in Yemen. Our continued support makes the U.S. complicit in one of the worst humanitarian crises in history, and possibly complicit with war crimes. The U.N. estimated that this attack alone could claim as many as 250,000 civilian lives. The attack will also worsen the famine and cholera crisis. We cannot continue to endorse such cruel actions by providing support for this coalition."