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US' Sanders makes fresh calls to 'defund' Saudi and UAE

US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference regarding the separation of immigrant children at the US Capitol on July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC [Alex Edelman / Getty Images]
US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference regarding the separation of immigrant children at the US Capitol on 10 July 2018 in Washington, DC [Alex Edelman/Getty Images]

Fresh calls have been made to end US support for the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen following a renewed pledge by Riyadh and its main ally in the conflict, the UAE, to continue their offensive against the Houthis.

"Congress must now defund all U.S. support for this war. Millions of lives are at stake," said Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday in a tweet. Sharing an article about a joint communique by the Saudis and the UAE to renew their pledge to continue fighting in Yemen, the representative from Vermont also took the opportunity to accuse President Donald Trump of misleading the American people over his policy in the Middle East. "Trump said he wanted to get us out of Middle East conflicts. He lied. When we passed a bill to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, he vetoed it."

In their statement, which was carried by both the Emirati and Saudi state news agencies yesterday, both countries said that "political, military, relief and development efforts" would continue in their campaign to defeat Houthi insurgents and reinstate deposed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi while expanding their influence in the country.

The statement also rejected and condemned what they described as the "accusations and defamation campaigns targeting the UAE" since its decision to begin withdrawing troops. It mentioned the formation of a joint committee and urged the cooperation of all parties to achieve disengagement and redeployment of troops as part of the coalition's military efforts.

READ: Saudi-led coalition downs Houthi drone from Yemen

While the UAE has declared its intention to wind down its troop's presence, a sizable number are expected to remain to train Yemeni troops made up of former security personal, tribesmen and militia members.

Sanders appears to have interpreted the pledge renewal by the Saudis and the UAE as an indication of an escalation to the conflict which has led to accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity being directed at Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Despite his campaign promise to pull the US out of conflicts in the Middle East, Trump has vetoed resolutions blocking American military assistance to the Gulf countries. The rift between Trump and US lawmakers over arms sale to allies in the Middle East has become a major flash point. Sanders, who is hoping to become the Democrat nominee for the 2020 US elections and go head to head with Trump, sees the president's unquestioning support for Middle Eastern dictators to be a major weakness in his bid to be re-elected in a year's time.

READ: Millions face starvation in Yemen after Saudi, UAE fail to meet pledge

Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUSYemen
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