This senator introduced the "Stop Arming Terrorists Act" bill.
Senator Rand Paul introduced Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s bill, appropriately dubbed the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” this week to forcefully stop the funding and arming of rebel forces in foreign nations. Doing so is illegal for American citizens, but the U.S. government has continuously provided support to known terrorist organizations for years.
As Hawaii Representative Gabbard said, “Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”
The U.S. position on the Syrian Civil War has been a point of contention for years now, as overthrowing the corrupt government has been the focus, but it comes at the cost of arming terrorist groups whose efforts include spreading terror throughout the world. Many have pointed out that doing so would be choosing the greater evil, and that aiding the Syrian government, as corrupt as President Bashar al-Assad may be, could be the better option. The debate is multi-faceted, but people on both sides seem to agree on one thing: the U.S. government should cease federal funding of terrorist groups.
“The fact that American taxpayer dollars are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every Member of Congress and every American. We call on our colleagues and the Administration to join us in passing this legislation,” said Gabbard.
While this bill was introduced by Democrats from both the Senate and House, it is also supported by some Republicans. Republican Representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Thomas Massie cosponsored the bill and all involved are hoping for a swift passing, though that likely won’t be the case because of special interest groups that profit from selling weapons overseas and have donated to congressional campaigns to further their interests.
The bill is relatively straight-forward, and its central points can be found below:
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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