To the editor:
Recently I joined a rally for peace in Yemen outside the Riverdale office of U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel with Concerned Citizens for Change — which is based in his district — and other organizations, including Action Corps NYC.
A key goal was to urge him to co-sponsor House Concurrent Resolution 81, seeking to end what the United Nations calls the world’s worse humanitarian crisis. The resolution invokes the War Powers Act to cut off U.S. military aid in the Saudi-Emirati war against Houthi rebels. U.S. aid includes air refueling, intelligence and logistical support.
We also urged him to call for an immediate ceasefire in the devastating assault on Hodeida, the port through which most of Yemen’s supplies arrive.
The resolution is no panacea for a complex geopolitical problem, but it is a solid starting point for a wiser U.S. policy. Rep. Engel, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, needs to act to prevent the imminent starvation of more than 22 million Yemenis (U.N. estimate). He also needs to lead Congress in asserting its long-avoided role in military matters as a co-equal branch of government.
The consequences of inaction are not only suffering and death, but also the greater likelihood that al-Qaida and ISIS will find a growing number of desperate and angry Yemenis willing to become recruits.