Rand Paul moves bipartisan bill to block weapons to Syria

Rand Paul on the Senate floorPresident Obama recently announced that he was finally willing get involved in the Syrian conflict, but many have said it is too little, too late. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, has made his opposition known, and now is working to do something about it.

Paul is one of a group of four bipartisan senators who have introduced a bill to prohibit President Obama from involving the U.S. in the Syrian civil war. The bill will block any funds on activities involving military or paramilitary aid, but humanitarian aid would not be affected.

“The President’s unilateral decision to arm Syrian rebels is incredibly disturbing, considering what little we know about whom we are arming,” Paul said in a statement from his office.

Senators Tom Udall, D-NM, Mike Lee, R-UT, and Chris Murphy, D-CT, have joined Paul in opposition to Obama’s decision to arm rebel groups in Syria.

“I am deeply disturbed by the current situation in Syria and atrocities committed by President Assad’s regime and other militant groups inside Syria,” Udall said in the statement. “But there are too many questions about how the President’s decision to arm the Syrian rebels will be handled, and unfortunately many of those answers are being kept secret.  We don’t know where the money is coming from, who the arms are going to, and whether the arms are going to individuals who have the capabilities to maintain a chain of custody of those weapons.”

Sen. Lee said that any military involvement in Syria, “including the arming of Syrian rebels, needs to be authorized through Congress, where concerns can be publicly debated and the American people can have a say.”

“Our focus should be on increasing humanitarian assistance to refugee populations and opposition groups instead of injecting more weapons into the conflict,” Murphy said.

The main provision of the bill states:

No funds made available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose of, or in a manner which would have the effect of, supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual.

“Engaging in yet another conflict in the Middle East with no vote or Congressional oversight compounds the severity of this situation,” Paul said. “The American people deserve real deliberation by their elected officials before we send arms to a region rife with extremists who seek to threaten the U.S. and her allies.”


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