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House Votes to Cut Off U.S. Military Assistance to Saudi-Led Coalition Fighting in Yemen

The conflict has killed thousands of civilians since 2014 and has made a dire humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s poorest nations even worse.

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Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels hold up their weapons in a show of support for peace talks in Sanaa, Yemen. The U.S. House on Feb. 13, 2019, approved a resolution that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen. VOA

Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives rebuked President Donald Trump on Wednesday and voted to cut off U.S. military assistance to the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen.

The vote was 248 to 177 and marked the first time the House has used the War Powers Act.

The measure now goes to the Senate, which passed a similar measure late last year, setting up a possible showdown with the White House.

“This is their (Congress) opportunity to send a message to the Saudis that their behavior on Khashoggi and their flagrant disregard of human rights is not consistent with the American way of doing business and not in line with American values,” Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California said.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 30, 2019, on a reintroduction of a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 30, 2019, on a reintroduction of a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. VOA

The United States has been providing mainly intelligence and logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The conflict has killed thousands of civilians since 2014 and has made a dire humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s poorest nations even worse.

Saudi-led airstrikes aimed at the rebels have obliterated entire neighborhoods, destroying schools and hospitals.

U.S. lawmakers from both parties are not only disgusted by the carnage in Yemen, but many are also angry over what they see as Trump’s tepid reaction to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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The conflict has killed thousands of civilians since 2014 and has made a dire humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s poorest nations even worse. VOA

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., questions U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 27, 2017, before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee budget hearing. VOA

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, another California Democrat, called the U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen “shameful,” saying it helped create a humanitarian crisis.

Congress passed the War Powers Act in 1973 after the United States’ disastrous involvement in Vietnam.

It gives Congress the authority to pull U.S. forces out of an undeclared war.

Also Read: US Taxpayers Unhappy With Trump’s Tax Cuts

The White House said U.S. assistance to the Saudi coalition in Yemen does not fall under the War Powers Act because U.S. forces are not directly involved in hostilities.

If the Yemen resolution also passes in the Senate, the White House has threatened a veto. (VOA)

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We Got Trump Elected, Shouldn’t Stop Him in 2020; Says Facebook Executive

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day

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FILE - President Donald Trump departs after speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House July 17, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Facebook Vice President Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth has claimed that it was the social networking giant that got Donald Trump elected as the US President in 2016 because “he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser”.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the key Facebook executive in the same vein suggested that the platform with over 2.45 billion monthly active users should not use its enormous reach to block Trump’s reelection in 2020.

Was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected?

“I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period”, said Bosworth who runs Facebook’s hardware group.

“Trump just did unbelievable work,” Bosworth wrote.

“They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t micro-targeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each persona.

He continued: “I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result. So what stays my hand? I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment”.

Donald Trump
Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump. Wikimedia Commons

“Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial (Galadriel) and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her,” he wrote.

“As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.”

“To be clear, I’m no fan of Trump. I donated the max to Hillary,” he tried to clarify his stand.

Bosworth said that it is worth reminding everyone that Russian interference was real but it was mostly not done through advertising.

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“$100,000 in ads on Facebook can be a powerful tool but it can’t buy you an American election, especially when the candidates themselves are putting up several orders of magnitude more money on the same platform (not to mention other platforms),” he wrote.

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day.

“Misinformation was also real and related but not the same as Russian interference,” Bosworth mentioned, admitting that Cambridge Analytica was one of the more acute cases where the details were almost all wrong. (IANS)