IT’S NO SECRET that the situation in Yemen is grim. The numbers are repeated in press reports and diplomatic statements ad nauseam: likely tens of thousands of civilian casualties; more than a million cases of cholera over the past year; 8 million people in danger of facing starvation, 5 million of them children; 22 million in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Civilians are getting blown up at weddings, at funerals, while fishing. They’re selling organs to make ends meet and cooking tree leaves to survive. It’s “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
But believe it or not, the humanitarian situation in Yemen could get worse, and soon. And—depressingly or encouragingly, depending on how you look at it—those with some of the most practical power to mitigate the harm at this critical juncture are lawmakers in the United States. Though Congress’s efforts have so far been too little, too late, and further disaster seems imminent, developments on Capitol Hill signal that the US-backed war machine is faltering, and that those most responsible for Yemen’s prolonged suffering are at risk of losing their impunity.