US Congressmen Introduce Bill to Stop Arming Syrian Opposition
According to a report on Anadolu Agency, today, a group of bipartisan US congressmen introduced a bill to prevent US President Obama from arming Syrian opposition.
The bill was introduced by Republicans Chris Gibson and Michelle Bachmann and Democrats Peter Welch and Rick Nolan from the U.S. House of Representatives, and Democrats Tom Udall and Chris Murphy and Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee from the Senate.
Democrat Welch said it was vitally important that they recognized the lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Welch added:
“Syria is in a brutal and tragic civil war the roots of which go back hundreds of years. To the extent that America can help with humanitarian assistance to ease this tragic refugee crisis, we should do so. But sending military assistance to Syrian rebels, or intervening directly in this conflict, will lead to the Americanization of this Sunni-Shia conflict. If America walks down this path, Congress and the American people should first be part of a vigorous debate. Congress has the constitutional responsibility to authorize any action and it should do its job.”
Another report from the Reason.com states that on June 26, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and nine of his Republican colleagues introduced a bill that would block unauthorized U.S. military aid from being sent to rebels in Syria.
The Reason.com report adds, the Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress—not the President—the power to declare war. But the President recently announced his intention to send arms to the rebels in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. H.R. 2507, the War Powers Protection Act of 2013, prohibits any military assistance to Syrian opposition forces unless Congress issues a formal declaration of war pursuant to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Rep. Thomas Massie said,
“Since our national security interests in Syria are unclear, we risk giving money and military assistance to our enemies. Additionally, all military action must be authorized by Congress. The American people deserve open debate by their elected officials.”
The other congressmen who introduced the bill with Massie are Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fl.), Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Rep. Joesph Pitts (R-Pa.), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).
The bill comes a week after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and three of his colleagues introduced a similar bill to the Senate.
Paul said the president’s decision to arm the Syrian opposition was ‘incredibly disturbing’ adding “I’m opposed to getting involved in the Syrian civil war, I’m opposed to sending arms to the Syrian Islamic rebels, but I’m particularly opposed to doing it with no vote of the people through their representatives.”