UN-administered camp at Mazrak, northwest Yemen. Photograph from IRIN News.

Below are talking points about the war in Yemen, the U.S. involvement in this humanitarian crisis, and why it is time for Congress to assert its constitutional duty and begin overseeing our military’s involvement in this civil war.

  • Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee our military’s engagement.
  • Under the Constitution, only Congress can declare war. The president can respond to attacks and repel invasions, but the declaration of war is strictly a congressional duty.
  • Yemen’s civil war involves factions aligned with the Sunni-dominated government and the Shiite minority. The population of Yemen is roughly 28 million — with roughly 56% Sunni Muslim and 44% Shiite Muslim.
  • The Saudi government supports the Sunni side with airstrikes and other military operations, while Iran provides some assistance to the Shiite side.
  • The United States, without congressional consent or oversight, is assisting Saudi Arabia with intelligence and targeting, and the United States also provides aerial refueling for Saudi military aircraft.
  • There is no compelling U.S. national security interstate at stake in Yemen’s civil war.
  • It is time for Congress to assert its constitutional duty, as spelled out in Article I of the Constitution, and end the illegal U.S. involvement in Yemen.