A letter from Sen. Rand Paul to his Senate colleagues:
November 14, 2018
Dear Senate Colleague:
Tomorrow the Senate will vote to proceed to S.J. Res. 65, a resolution of disapproval that would block the sale of offensive weapons to Bahrain, a member of the Saudi-led coalition that has devastated Yemen. This vote is about more than weapons; this is a vote against the war in Yemen. This vote will send a message to the Saudi coalition that the Senate will not support further destruction in Yemen, and that further arms sales to participants in the Saudi coalition will be restricted until the war in Yemen is ended. Bahrain itself has been an ally of the United States in the past, and this would not be an open-ended ban on arms sales to Bahrain. Rather, this is a one-time action limited to Bahrain’s proposed purchase of rockets. Blocking this sale is a small step that could nonetheless serve as the beginning of the end for the war in Yemen.
Last week, the United States military ceased operations to refuel Saudi combat aircraft engaged in the war in Yemen. This is a positive first step in our disengagement from the conflict. However, according to Secretary of Defense Mattis, the United States was only providing this kind of support for twenty percent of their aircraft. Additionally, the Saudi Press Agency reported that the Saudi government itself requested an end to this support because they had developed their own capability and no longer needed American support. This means that our effort to withhold refueling support will not apply sufficient pressure to change the conduct of the war in Yemen. We must take additional actions, and this resolution is an important first step.
As the humanitarian disaster in Yemen has worsened, a growing chorus of international voices have called for the end of the war in Yemen. In December 2017, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking said, "…there is no military solution to end the war in Yemen." This was reiterated this August by Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, the Permanent Representative to the UN of Kuwait-another Saudi coalition member. Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mattis also made this conclusion clear in October of this year. Secretary Pompeo is on the record: "The United States calls on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. The time is now for the cessation of hostilities." Similarly, Secretary Mattis said on the same day: "Thirty days from now we want to see everybody around a peace table based on a ceasefire […] to get them together in Sweden and end this war."
The world has accepted the inescapable conclusion that the war in Yemen must end. Tomorrow, the Senate can take an important step toward that end, and I hope that you will join me in voting in favor of S.J. Res. 65.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator