Sen. Todd Young Says The White House Can Help End The War In Yemen — And He's On It

He told A Plus that the U.S.'s humanitarian principles demand action.

Sen. Todd Young Says The White House Can Help End The War In Yemen — And He's On It

Indiana Sen. Todd Young says he will continue to push Congress and the White House to do more to end the Yemeni Civil War, which some aid groups are calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. 

Earlier this month, the Republican legislator joined with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to pen an op-ed for The Washington Post that made the case the United States has the leverage to end the Yemeni Civil War, but specific actions would need to be taken. 

The op-ed, which was published on Sept. 11, was a striking criticism of the United States government for its role in supporting the Saudi-led coalition whose airstrikes "killed dozens of children in two separate incidents." Young and Shaheen both helped include provisions in a recent military spending bill that established a "legal requirement for the Secretary of State to submit written, detailed and unclassified certifications to ensure the Saudi-led coalition is taking steps to end the war," according to the op-ed. The bipartisan duo believes that by demanding that the U.S. government sign those certifications, there will be more pressure on the Saudi-led coalition to actually take steps that could help end the Yemeni Civil War.

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"This Yemen provision will provide the administration additional leverage and will hold our security partners accountable to their commitments," Young said in an email to A Plus.

A Plus also reached out to Shaheen's office for comment, but they did not respond by time of publication.

The Yemeni war has had devastating effects on the country's civilians. An estimated 22 million people inside the country need humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. 8 million people are threatened by starvation, Reuters reported, and the country is experiencing the worst breakout of cholera in modern history.

When Shaheen and Young's op-ed was published, it was unclear whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would sign the certifications. Two days after, though, he did. Now, Young is indicating there is still room for further action if the war is going to come to an end anytime soon.

Child Saudi airstrike survivor stands in wreckage in Yemen War
Hafidh Abdullah al-Khawlani, who survived a Saudi-led air strike stands with his father on the wreckage of a bus destroyed by the strike in Saada, Yemen September 4, 2018. His brother was killed by the air strike. Picture taken September 4, 2018.  REUTERS/Naif Rahma.

"While I am glad that the administration submitted the certification on time and submitted an unclassified justification as the law requires, many questions remain," Young told A Plus. "The administration acknowledges a dramatic increase in civilian casualties and deaths from coalition airstrikes over the last few months. The administration also acknowledges that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have not fully complied with agreements and laws regulating defense articles purchased or transferred from the United States."

In his email to with A Plus, Young pledged to continue his advocacy on the issue.

"I will be addressing my concerns directly with the administration over the coming days and weeks, and I will continue to fight to hold our partners accountable," he wrote.

Young pointed to Congress' success in pressuring the Saudi-led coalition to re-open a port that had been closed as part of a starvation blockade as proof that the U.S. had the power to help civilians in Yemen. 

"Our national security interests and humanitarian principles demand that we press all parties to engage in urgent and good faith negotiations to end the conflict that has helped create the world's worst humanitarian crisis," Young wrote. "If the war continues, millions of additional Yemenis may find themselves on the verge of famine."

Correction: a quote provided by Sen. Young's office has been removed from the story, as it was outdated once the provision became law: "I look forward to this provision becoming law and carefully monitoring compliance."

Cover images via Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call and Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com.

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