House Increasingly Divided on Plan to Arm Syria Rebels

Senate Leaders Agree to Pass House Bill, But Will House?

The Obama Administration’s call for Congressional authorization to increase arms for Syrian rebels seems to be facing growing opposition in the House of Representatives, even after the GOP leadership offered some limitations to try to tamp down resistance.

The debate on the legislation began, but there were said to be a large number of rank-and-file Democrats opposed to the plan, and unmoved by the leadership’s push to back the president.

The Democratic opposition echoes similar fears from many in the Republican majority, who similarly fear that the “vetted, moderate” rebels aren’t trustworthy in fighting ISIS.

It seems a justifiable fear, particularly with the FSA openly saying it won’t join the US anti-ISIS coalition, and just wants the weapons to fight the Assad government. Many of the arms provided to the FSA and other “moderates” have ended up in ISIS hands at any rate.

Still, the House leadership in both parties are expected to push forward with the bill, and believe they have the votes to secure a victory by the end of the week. Bipartisan leaders in the Senate agree they’ll pass the House bill as soon as the House does, but with fears of a political backlash to the new war looming large in the House, that vote seems far from certain.

Antiwar.com endorses Foreign Policy in Focus’ call to telephone your Congressmen to tell them to vote ‘No’ on the proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels:

Congress is expected to vote in the next few days on a controversial proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition. With recent reports that some so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels this proposal seeks to arm have signed non-aggression pacts with ISIS, as in the past, now is not the time to rush into a policy whose consequences remain so unknown.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has introduced H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a robust debate and an authorization vote on any use of force. Sponsors so far include Reps. Grijalva, Ellison, Lee, McGovern, Defazio, Grayson, and Welch.

Antiwar.com, MoveOn, Win Without War, Peace Action, and many other groups have called for a National Day of Action TODAY to say: stop the rush to war in Iraq & Syria!

Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 . When you speak to a staffer (or leave a message), you can use the talking points below:

Hi, my name is ______, and I’m a constituent from _______.??

I urge you to vote “NO” on expanding military aid to rebel groups in Syria. More weapons to groups we don’t know, who may use them against us or our allies in the future, will only make the situation worse.

I also urge you to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a debate and an authorization vote on any use of force and the prohibition of the use of ground troops.

When you’ve made your call, you can report it here.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.