In a rare occasion of bi-partisan cooperation, Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Senator Rand Paul are rallying support for the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act.” The bill is focused on the US intervention in Syria, where we are currently giving aid to Syrian rebels who also alleged Jihadi militants. This is all apart of the US’s regime change effort against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Gabbard originally introduced it to the House of Representatives in January. The bill is simple, and to many it’s common sense to pass it; it calls for the end of all U.S financial and military aid to assist foreign military groups. There’s a provision in the bill that the U.S must efficiently screen foreign military groups. So that they must be proven to not be working with any Islamic fundamentalists, before the proper aid can be given. Shockingly, the U.S has already provided aid to two Islāmic fundamentalist groups that the State Department has labeled as terrorists – the name of the two groups are the Tahrir al-Sham and the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Earlier this month Gabbard made a statement with Rand Paul about this bill:
“Together, we’re raising our voices and calling on our nation’s leaders to pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act. For years, the U.S. government has supported militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist’s groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government. The fact that our resources are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm ever Member of Congress and every American.”
Rep. Gabbard is an Iraq War Veteran, and is known as a rising Democratic star; she even endorsed Bernie Sanders last year, and is not afraid of controversy, even to the point working against her own party at times. She drew criticism two months ago, from all sides of the spectrum, when she went to Syria to meet with President Assad. Gabbard has been a sharp critic of the U.S getting involved in Syrians affairs, and has publicly gone against the idea of overthrowing Assad arguing that it will create a vacuum that will make ISIS stronger. Rand Paul is a popular Libertarian Republican and former presidential candidate. He is known for standing for his principles, and known for not always agreeing with his party, especially on foreign policy. This week the Republican Senator from Arizona and former presidential candidate John McCain accused Paul of working for Vladimir Putin for not wanting to expand NATO. Paul is also a well-known non-interventionist, just like his father Ron Paul – who is also a former presidential candidate. Just like Gabbard he has been vocal in his opposition to US interventionism in Syria and across the middle east. His reasoning is he believes that taking out Assad will leave a power vacuum for ISIS or others to exploit. They are completely different ideologically on economic issues, and basically everything else, but it’s important to note that they are willing to work together on an issue like this one. Paul is introducing this bill through the Senate, and is working to get a vote on it, while Gabbard does the same thing in the House. Here is more information from bill S.532, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act:
- Makes it illegal for any U.S. federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in the bill, including weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash, to terrorists.
- Prohibits the U.S. government from providing such assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such support to terrorists.
- Instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individuals and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to, or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.
- Anticipates changing conditions by requiring the DNI to work with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee, and Select Committee on Intelligence to review and update the list of prohibited countries and groups every six months.
- Provides for accountability and transparency by requiring the DNI to brief Congress on its determinations.
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