WASHINGTON, June 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Christian Solidarity International (CSI-USA) Chairman John Eibner issued the following statement following the ground-breaking June 22 The American Conservative exposé “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria” written by Gellhorn Prize award winning investigative journalist Gareth Porter:
“Gareth Porter’s “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria” is a wake-up call that must be answered by the Trump administration and Congress. It is no longer possible to pretend that U.S. policy under the past administration was not directly involved in arming the most violent jihadi terror groups operating in Syria. The al-Nusra Front – the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria – was among the jihadist beneficiaries of CIA programs to transfer weapon from Libya and the Balkans. These transfers took place with full knowledge of the violent nature of these groups, which among other outrages commit countless acts of murder, torture, plunder and forced conversions of Christians and other non-Sunni Muslims. In my many travels to Syria since 2013, I have met with a host of innocent victims of their acts of terror. Arming al-Qaeda and its jihadist collaborators also led to the emergence of ISIS, originally an al-Qaeda offshoot, thus increasing the terror threat to Americans inside our own country.
“It should not require an act of Congress to stop our tax money going to arm al-Qaeda and its collaborators. The While House could stop this practice immediately, if it had the will. While Porter’s article concerns activities taking place before the current administration took office, there is no guarantee the U.S. is not continuing “business as usual” with their local clients and terror-funding partners like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
“In Riyadh last month, President Trump told representatives of more than 50 Muslim-majority countries that the funding and arming of terrorists must end. This sound initiative would gain hugely in force and credibility if the President would lead by example. He should give an unambiguous order to end this policy immediately. But there is growing concern that he will instead follow the example of his predecessor by ramping up covert support for al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists as boots on the ground against Shiite Iran and its regional interests.
“Porter begins and ends his expose with reference to the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” (SATA) introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Rand Paul. This bill would prohibit any U.S. assistance to al-Qaeda and ISIS, and any organization working directly with them. It would also prohibit U.S. military sales to countries that provide arms or financing to terrorists. Christian Solidarity International fully supports the principles and purposes of this legislation and calls on the Trump administration to cut off U.S. arms to jihadi terrorists, totally and permanently with out further delay.”
In his The American Conservative investigate report, Porter writes: “Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.
“The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history. The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism”—the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.”
CSI is an international Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For more information on No Arms for Terrorists, please visit www.NA4T.org.
John Eibner, Christian Solidarity International