Reps. Ilhan Omar and Joaquin Castro are leading the call to renew international oversight of atrocities committed in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

by Austin Ahlman, The Intercept

As the United States’ relationship to Saudi Arabia shifts, a group of congressional Democrats led by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Joaquin Castro is pushing to reestablish oversight of atrocities committed during the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen.

The U.S. relationship to the kingdom has been strained since President Joe Biden came into office promising to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Late last week, it emerged that Biden requested sovereign immunity for Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and prime minister of Saudi Arabia, in the lawsuit over Khashoggi’s murder. And on Monday, OPEC+, the coalition of oil-producing countries heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia, announced it would increase oil production, fulfilling a long-term ask by the Biden administration.

Children in Yemen stand in a bombed out building

Asked about these developments, Omar said, “Our foreign policy should not be based on a dependence on oil or the geopolitical whims of foreign despots. It should be based on the rule of law and human rights.”

An opportunity for accountability is coming up later this week when the United Nations Human Rights Council convenes an emergency session to discuss the protests in Iran, a major backer of Yemen’s Houthis. While oversight of the Yemen war is not immediately on the agenda, the matter is sure to arise in the council’s next general session, which convenes in March.

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