Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii introduced a bill that would forbid the U.S. from arming groups that are either directly or indirectly affiliated with known terrorist organizations. On the House floor, she asserted there are no moderate rebels in the Syrian civil war (video below).
On Dec. 8, Gabbard took to the podium to blast the Obama administration's financial and military aid to the rebel groups that are currently battling Syrian President Bashar Assad, MintPress News reports.
"Under U.S. law, it is illegal for you or me, or any American, to provide any type of assistance to [al-Qaida], ISIS or other terrorist groups," Gabbard said. "If we broke this law we'd be thrown in jail."
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The Hawaiian congresswoman added, "Yet the U.S. government has been breaking this law for years, directly or indirectly supporting allies and partners of groups like [al-Qaida] and ISIS with money, weapons, intelligence, and other support in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government."
Gabbard proceeded to introduce the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, legislation that would prohibit the U.S. from diverting funds to support groups with any ties to al-Qaida, ISIS or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a new incarnation of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Peter Welch of Vermont and Barbara Lee of California, as well as Republican Reps. Dan Rohrabacher of California and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
The bill is designed to cease U.S. financial and military aid to the Syrian rebels who are currently working to topple the Assad regime. Gabbard has previously derided this strategy as U.S. interventionist regime change, while her fellow critics have accused the rebel groups of openly cooperating with Jabhat al-Sham and al-Qaida.
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"This alliance has rendered the phrase 'moderate rebels' meaningless," Gabbard asserted. "We must stop this madness. We must stop arming terrorists."
Gabbard is one of the few Democratic lawmakers to meet with President-elect Donald Trump since he was elected. She met Trump on Nov. 21 to discuss U.S. foreign policy on Syria, CNN reports.
"President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face," Gabbard said. "While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives," Gabbard added.
The Trump transition team indicated that Gabbard was under consideration for serving in either the Defense Department, State Department or the United Nations for the incoming administration, but there has since been no further updates on the matter.