Yemen's Huthi rebels on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump's veto of a Congress resolution directing him to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen as proof Washington was behind the conflict. The veto "proves that the United States is not only involved in the war on Yemen but also was behind the decision to go to war," Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdelsalam tweeted.
"Others followed that decision and execute the wishes and ambitions of the United States," Abdelsalam added, referring to Saudi Arabia and its allies. Abdelsalam, who heads a rebel delegation involved in ongoing UN-led peace talks, held the US responsible for "massacres, crimes and the unjust siege of Yemen". Yemen and Mexico are the only two countries to have been targeted by a Trump veto. The president overrode a congressional resolution that aimed to reverse the border emergency he declared in order to secure more funding for his wall between the United States and Mexico in March.
Congress' Yemen resolution was a harsh bipartisan rebuke to Trump that took the historic step of curtailing a president's war-making powers -- a step he condemned in a statement announcing his veto. Democrats argue that US involvement in the Yemen conflict, which includes intelligence-sharing, logistical support and now-discontinued aerial refuelling, is unconstitutional without congressional authority. Trump said US support for the devastating war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Huthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, was necessary to "protect the safety of the more than 80,000 Americans who reside in certain coalition countries". Trump also said the veto would harm "bilateral relations" with key US allies.
These countries "have been subject to Huthi attacks from Yemen," he said, referring to drone and missile strikes Saudi Arabia's air force either claimed were intercepted or denied altogether. Some 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen during the past four years, according to the World Health Organization, although human rights groups say the toll could be five times higher. The country stands at the brink of famine. Both the Saudi-led alliance and the Huthis have been accused of acts that could amount to war crimes, while the coalition has been blacklisted by the United Nations for killing and maiming children. Critics of the Yemen war warn Saudi forces are likely using US weapons to commit atrocities.
(With inputs from agencies.)