U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat, Hawaii) has recently returned from Syria where she spent four days. She spoke her trip to the war-torn country in a seven minute interview on CNN.
During her visit, Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad, clergymen and citizens. She also visited a hospital. According to her, the locals were pleased with her visit and hoped that upon her return, she would report to the U.S. Congress the true state of affairs in Syria. Many who met her asked hard questions as to why America backs terrorists in Syria and supplies them with weapons. In the press release on her website, Gabbard said that she had no answer.
Talking about the goal of her trip, Representative Gabbard stated that she had been trying to stir the compassion of U.S. citizens towards the suffering of Syrians. She stressed that it was important to end the war which has brought much suffering to Syrian families. The congresswoman also claimed that if U.S. politicians are genuinely concerned for Syrians, peace had to be achieved by all means.
CNN interviewer and program host Jake Tapper asked Tulsi Gabbard whether she had any compunction about meeting the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. He argued that the Syrian president is allegedly responsible for murdering hundreds of thousands of Syrians and for the fate of millions of people who had had to leave their homes.
Replying to this question, Gabbard said that she hadn’t initially expected to meet President Assad but decided to accept the invitation after having met with Syrians and seeing the true state of affairs in the country. “It’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace,” the congresswoman said.
“Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria,” she said. “In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”
Some of her thoughts are available below:
- “We must stop directly and indirectly supporting terrorists—directly by providing weapons, training and logistical support to rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS; and indirectly through Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey, who, in turn, support these terrorist groups. We must end our war to overthrow the Syrian government and focus our attention on defeating al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
- “From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has waged wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
- “Originally, I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I felt it was important to take it. I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much suffering.”
- “The U.S. must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people. The U.S. and other countries fueling this war must stop immediately. We must allow the Syrian people to try to recover from this terrible war.”
Pictures from Gabbard’s trip to Syria
Earlier this year, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608), legislation that would prohibit U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria by ensuring U.S. funds are not used to support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups. The bill achieves this by:
– Making it illegal for any U.S. Federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in this bill to terrorists. The assistance covered includes weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash.
– Making it illegal for the U.S. government to provide assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such assistance to terrorists.
– Requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individual 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.
– Requiring the DNI to review and update the list of countries and groups to which assistance is prohibited every six months, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
– Requiring the DNI to brief Congress on the determinations.
Unfortunately, not many U.S. politicians agree with Tulsi Gabbard. On the one hand, the future of Syria truly belongs to the Syrian citizens and it is their right alone to decide in what country and under what government they will live on. On the other hand, an international coalition invaded the territory of the sovereign state of Syria and backs the violent, extremist opposition under a veil of fighting the Islamic State.
Thankfully, some U.S. politicians such as Tulsi Gabbard acknowledge the inconsistency of the American foreign policy. They effectively accuse Washington of illegal military operations in Syria which have led to hundreds of thousands civilian casualties.