USA TODAY Article Details Senator Young Yemen Campaign
WASHINGTON – Preceding today’s news that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are calling for a ceasefire in Yemen, USA Today published an article detailing U.S. Senator Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) efforts over the last year and a half to address the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Excerpts of the article are included below and the full article is available here.
USA TODAY: ‘Stop starving people as instrument of war.' One Republican’s blunt message to Saudis — and Trump
By: Deirdre Shesgreen
Published 6:57 p.m. ET Oct. 30, 2018
“Sen. Todd Young is an ex-Marine and staunch conservative not known for bucking President Donald Trump or the Republican party line. Except on one very controversial issue: Yemen’s horrific civil war.”
“What drew Young’s attention was not just the death toll from errant military strikes. It was the famine that truly alarmed him – a man-made catastrophe that has put more than 8 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation.
“’It offends my sensibilities – and I know it offends the sensibilities of all Americans – that there are countries in this day and age that are using food as a weapon of war,’ Young told USA TODAY.
“’And it further offends my sensibilities … that the United States has partnered with these countries,’ he said.”
“’This is a national security issue,’ Young notes, explaining that the militant Islamic group known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is headquartered in Yemen. ‘And starving people – denying them basic humanitarian assistance – leads to radicalization. We don’t want to create more terrorists.’
“Young fumed over the Saudi blockade, publicly and privately lobbying the Saudis and the Trump administration over the issue. In July 2017, he convened a Senate hearing to help spotlight the Saudis’ role, first in bombing the existing cranes, along with a warehouse full of food, and then in blocking ships that carried four new cranes, which he noted had cost American taxpayers $3.8 million.
“’I will want to ensure that the Saudis get all the public credit – or shame – they deserve’ for impeding the cranes, he said at the July hearing.
“Five months later, amid growing international outrage, the Saudis relented and agreed to let the cranes through.”
“’They won’t say it on the record, but you talk to folks in the administration, and they say the single biggest force moving the conflict in a positive direction has been congressional pressure,’ said Scott Paul, a top advocate for Oxfam America. ‘And Sen. Young has been at the heart of that.’
“Paul said Young has been effective in part because he’s not splashy in his confrontations.
“’It’s private, it's quiet, it requires diligence and sustained attention,’ he said of Young's legislative work on the issue.”
“’I feel emboldened to provide this administration additional leverage … and help bring the worst humanitarian crisis since the ‘40s to an end,’ Young said.”
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