This article appears in The Fight For Yemen, the Winter 2019 issue of Middle East Report, the magazine of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)
The US House of Representatives passed a potentially historic resolution on February 13, 2019, calling for an end to US military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen that began in 2015. Although the US government has never formally declared its involvement in the war, it assists the coalition with intelligence and munitions and supports the aerial campaign with refueling and targeting. The United States is therefore complicit in the myriad atrocities the coalition has committed against Yemeni civilians, which Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have characterized as war crimes. 
What is already historic about the resolution (introduced by Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna of California and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin) and its Senate counterpart (introduced by Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut) is their invocation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which restrains a president’s capacity to commit forces abroad. Aimed to prevent “future Vietnams,” the act gives Congress the authority to compel the removal of US military forces engaged in hostilities absent a formal declaration of war.
The House resolution was the first time Congress flexed its War Powers muscle in the 45 years since that resolution’s passage. The Senate passed a parallel resolution in December, but the measure died when the Republican leadership refused to bring it to a vote. These congressional moves not only register opposition to US involvement in this war but also strike a major blow against unlimited executive power when it comes to launching war. This long overdue Congressional action to constrain executive war-making, however, would not have been possible without a tremendous grassroots mobilization against US involvement in this disastrous war and the surging progressive tide that is raising deeper questions about US foreign policy. Continue reading “Progressive Surge Propels Turning Point in US Policy on Yemen”
OK… here’s the PULSE exclusive I’ve been working on. Hope you enjoy.
Is president Barack Obama the change America has been waiting for or is he another corporate Democrat representing elite interests? According to Tariq Ali, very little has chanced between Obama and former president George W. Bush. In his latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad,” Ali argues that Obama is carrying on the reckless policies of the Bush regime. If Obama continues down this path, the Democratic Party not only face the prospect of the House & Senate in 2010 but also the presidency in 2012. This should be a cause for concern.
I caught up with Ali during his American book tour and here’s what he had to say about the Obama presidency.
Where did the idea for this book emanate from? Why did you want to write a book about “The Obama Syndrome” and what does that refer to?
The idea occurred because I speak a lot on the United States. People ask me questions after each talk and increasingly in the past two to three years, the talk has been about Obama. I thought a short book which essentially provided a balance sheet from the left on the mid-term would be a useful exercise. Given that he’s being attacked nonstop for being a socialist, a leftist, being a Muslim and all this nonsense that comes from the Tea Party-Fox Television alliance, I thought it was better to have a hard-headed realistic account about who the guy really is. So my book is a critique of him, but it’s also by implication a very sharp critique of people who claim that everything Obama is doing is so radical that they can’t take it anymore.
Indepedent journalist Max Blumenthal has just released his latest video. This one deals Jewish extremists at a New York city rally that closely resemble members of the American Tea Party movement.
Blumenthal writes the following.
On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Barack Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize the West Bank. With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes historian, critic, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills for a discussion his new book, Bomb Power. Wills recalls his formative influences including his Catholic faith and education; William Buckley and the editors of The National Review; the Vietnam War protests; and the Civil Rights movement. He compares Obama to past presidents and explains why his support turned to criticism. He analyzes the impact of the atomic bomb on the U.S. constitutional system arguing that its development created a national security state characterized by an enlargement of Presidential power at the expense of other branches of government.
Some good news came out of Washington yesterday that went largely unnoticed. Ha’aretz reported 54 members of Congress sent a letter to president Barack Obama urging him to pressure Israel to end the siege on Gaza. Ha’aretz correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya writes:
The letter was the initiative of Representatives Jim McDermott from Washington and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, both of whom are Democrats. Ellison is the first American Muslim to ever win election to Congress. McDermott and Ellison wrote that they understand the threats facing Israel and the ongoing Hamas terror activities against Israeli citizens but that “this concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.” “We ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts,” they wrote, adding that the siege has hampered the ability of aid agencies to do their work in Gaza. The congressmen urged Obama to pressure Israel to ease the movement of people into and out of Gaza, especially students, the sick, aid workers, journalists and those with family concerns, and also to allow the import of building materials to rebuild houses. Israel has warned that such materials would be used to rebuild Hamas infrastructure and not civilian homes.
Fifty-four members of Congress urging the president to pressure Israel to treat Gazans like human beings is a positive development, albeit a VERY small one. Critics may content that the letter protects Israel’s image. I understand that. But I still think it’s encouraging.