ACTION ALERT: Opposition to Arming Syrian Rebels Grows

July 16th, 2013 - by admin

Lindsey Boerma / CBS News & Robert Naiman / Just Foreign Policy – 2013-07-16 23:09:47

Most Americans Oppose Arming Syrian Rebels, Poll Shows
Lindsey Boerma / CBS News

(June 17, 2013) — Broad majorities of Democrats and Republicans alike disagree with President Obama’s decision to supply arms to rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a Pew poll out Monday.

Following the president’s announcement last week that the United States would provide military support to opposition forces in the war-torn country amid mounting evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against them, 70 percent of Americans polled said they oppose doing so. About two-thirds argued the US military is stretched too thin; 60 percent said they worry the rebels may not be an upgrade from the Assad regime.

The survey reflected very little partisan divide in attitudes about the civil war: 74 percent of independents, 71 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats said they’re against the United States and its allies sending arms to Syria.

Still, the majority of the public – 53 percent to 36 percent – agreed it’s important for the United States to support those who take on authoritarian regimes. Democrats, who were slightly more likely to back Mr. Obama’s decision, tended to believe that the United States has a moral obligation to help stop the raging violence in Syria.

Since December, support for US engagement in the conflict has waned from 24 to 20 percent. Even among that 20 percent, more than half said that though they back the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, they harbor other concerns, including that the US military is already overcommitted abroad.

On Sunday, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., predicted members of Congress weren’t likely to get behind the president’s request without a comprehensive plan of what the administration hopes to accomplish in Syria: “What is the plan? Where are we going in Syria?” he asked on “Face the Nation.”

This survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Analysis in the report was based on telephone interviews conducted June 12-16, 2013 among a national sample of 1,512 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

(c) 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

ACTION ALERT: Intel Committees Agree with Public:
No Arms to Syria Rebels

Robert Naiman / Just Foreign Policy

(July 16, 2013) — Seventy percent of Americans oppose sending US weapons to Syrian rebels, including 74% of independents, 71% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats. [1] Key Members of Congress agree: the House and Senate intelligence committees have blocked an Administration plan to arm the Syrian rebels as a “covert action.” [2]

Now, Vermont Democrat Peter Welch and New York Republican Chris Gibson are introducing an amendment on the House defense appropriations bill that would block US military involvement in Syria.

ACTION: Urge your representative to support the Gibson-Welch amendment.

Reps. Welch and Gibson have submitted the following amendment for consideration on the defense appropriations bill in the House: [3]

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used 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 or, for United States military operations in Syria without the express authorization of Congress.

We don’t need another US war in the Middle East. Whatever influence the US has in the situation should be used to promote a political settlement that ends the war, not to add more weapons to kill more people. We don’t need more US “covert” military actions that aren’t explicitly approved by Congress after open debate. We don’t need to take sides in a sectarian civil war.

There’s still time to stop this military escalation. Urge your Representative to speak up

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