Yemen at the Crossroads: Updates On the Humanitarian Crisis and What Congress Can Do About It

Co-sponsored by the Friends Committee on National Legislation and Demand Progress. Consideration of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act comes at a critical time for Yemen, as roughly 16.2 million people in Yemen are at risk of famine. Aid agencies have described Yemen as the worst place in the world to be a child, with the conflict claiming the lives of at least 85,000 children from hunger and disease. The UN warned this year, 400,000 children under the age of 5 could perish from severe acute malnutrition this year without urgent action. The House of Representatives recently passed amendments by Rep. Khanna and Chairman Meeks which respectively seek to end and limit U.S. participation in the war. The text of the Senate NDAA also contains provisions seeking to limit U.S. involvement. Despite growing pressure from lawmakers, civil society, and Yemeni-American activists against the Saudi blockade of Yemen, during the month of September only 9.5% of Yemen’s fuel needs were allowed to enter the country’s Red Sea ports. While the Biden Administration has promised to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war, and has publicly acknowledged opposition to the blockade, there has been no confirmation that the U.S. has meaningfully pressured Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade nor has the US fully ended support for the Saudi-led coalition. Meanwhile, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis continues in Yemen. For this event, panelists will: offer updates on the blockade, ongoing humanitarian crisis, and the U.S.’s role; highlight stories from the ground in Yemen; offer perspectives on what role Congress can play in ending U.S. involvement in the war and blockade, including analysis of provisions in the NDAA. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 26, at 3 pm ET.


Aisha Jumaan

Aisha Jumaan, MPH, PhD, is the President and founder of the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation (YRRF). Jumaan has over 30 years of experience in public health, including in viral vaccine preventable diseases, cancer research, maternal & child health and nutrition, and women in development. She worked with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for over a decade. Jumaan also worked in her native home, Yemen, with UNFPA and UNDP, where she also participated in health-related program development, evaluation, and training activities for the Peace Corps. She has served on the faculty of Emory University, as well as Sana’a University. Jumaan is currently working as an Independent Consultant coordinating health-related projects in Yemen.

Bruce Riedel

Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He served thirty years in the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in the Middle East and Europe as well as eight years in the National Security Council at the White House for four Presidents. A graduate of Brown, Harvard and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, he is the author of eight books. His next book is Jordan and America: An Enduring Friendship which will be published in September.

Annelle Sheline

Annelle Sheline, PhD, is the Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. Sheline is completing a book manuscript on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. Her non-academic writing has appeared in The Nation, Politico, and Foreign Policy. She earned her PhD in political science from George Washington University and is a non-resident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Marcus Stanley

Marcus Stanley is the Advocacy Director of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Prior to joining the Quincy Institute, he spent a decade at Americans for Financial Reform, where he played a leadership role in policy formulation and advocacy to reform regulation of the U.S. financial system. Before that, he was an economic and policy advisor to Senator Barbara Boxer, as a Senior Economist at the U.S. Joint Economic Committee. While there, he produced “War at Any Price?” — a seminal study on the full costs of the Iraq invasion, used to build political support to end the U.S. role in the war. He has a PhD in public policy from Harvard, with a focus on economics.

Hassan El-Tayyab (Moderator)

Hassan El-Tayyab is FCNL’s lead lobbyist on Middle East policy. He is also responsible for representing FCNL with the various coalitions that work on these issues. Prior to joining FCNL in August 2019, he was co-director of the national advocacy group Just Foreign Policy, where he led their lobbying work to advance a more progressive foreign policy in the Middle East and Latin America. He played a major role in the successful passage of the War Powers Resolution to end US military aid to the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war in Yemen. His writings and commentaries have been featured in numerous news outlets, including CNN, BBC World News, The Hill, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, The Intercept, The Young Turks, and more.