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Khanna calls for further action from Biden on Yemen

February 11, 2021
In The News

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a vocal opponent of the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen’s civil war, called on President Biden to withdraw further support from the campaign and cut off all arms sales to Riyadh.

Khanna hailed Biden’s reversals of Trump administration policies on Yemen, calling them “a huge commitment to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen.” But he added that “our work to support a brighter future for the people of Yemen is just beginning.”

Biden has already reversed a policy of backing offensive efforts by the Saudi-led coalition, which has been hammered for killing civilians, and revoked the decision to label Houthi rebels a terrorist group, a designation critics warned could hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid to areas under their control.

“We need further clarification on what specific military support we’ll be ending, and, just as importantly, what support Biden still plans to provide to the Saudis,” Khanna said in a list of demands. “We need a commitment from Biden to use all of his leverage to end the Saudi-led de facto blockade of Yemen. My team is asking for clarification on this point and we look forward to receiving an answer.” 

“We need to confirm we’ve ended all arms sales to the Saudis, and that we won’t fulfill any outstanding weapons contracts,” he continued, adding that “We need to press for additional humanitarian aid in all parts of Yemen.” 

Khanna also called for “full US support & engagement” with the peace process, being led by the United Nations, to end the war between the Saudi coalition and the Houthis, who have ties to Iran. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Khanna, along with fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has been a vocal proponent for ending the U.S. support for operations in Yemen and curtailing the military relationship with several Gulf countries.

Khanna has been a part of several efforts to try to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the Trump administration, including an effort last month to halt the sale of millions of dollars of precision-guided bombs.

The Trump administration most recently approved a $290 million sale to Riyadh for 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I munitions and related equipment. The approval followed another greenlight for Raytheon to directly sell Saudi Arabia 7,500 of its Paveway air-to-ground “smart” bombs at an estimated value of $478 million.

Biden a week after his inauguration said he is pausing a number of the Trump administration’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pending a review.