Action Alerts

Intel Committees Agree with Public: No Arms to Syria Rebels

Seventy percent of Americans oppose sending U.S. 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 U.S. military involvement in Syria. Urge your representative to support the Gibson-Welch amendment.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/block-syria-arms

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 U.S. war in the Middle East. Whatever influence the U.S. 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 U.S. “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.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/block-syria-arms

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

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Give your Rep a Nudge: Call Today to Support Rare Pro-Iran Diplomacy Initiative

Thank you to everyone who emailed their Representative in Congress concerning the Dent-Price letter supporting US-Iran diplomacy. The next step in pressuring your Representative to sign is to call their office. Could you call your Representative today and ask them to sign the Dent-Price letter supporting US-Iran engagement? Here's what you do:

  1. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
  2. Ask to be connected to your Representative's office.
  3. Once you are connected to your Rep's office, tell them your name and address.
  4. Tell your Representative's office to please sign the Dent-Price letter promoting a reinvigorated US effort to engage Iran following Hassan Rouhani's election as president. If your Representative is Charlie Dent or David Price, thank them for initiating the letter.
  5. Here are some additional statements you can use to back up your ask:
    1. Rouhani ran on a platform of engaging with the world and has promised to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace.”
    2. Rouhani's diplomatic credentials include being Iran's lead nuclear negotiator in 2003-5 when the country made progress in talks with the EU-3, temporarily suspended uranium enrichment, and voluntarily implemented the Additional Protocol.
    3. It would be a mistake not to test Rouhani's offer of engagement. If we ignore it, we send a message that the US will respond the same way no matter what happens in Iran, undermining reformists who want an easing of tensions and emboldening those who want confrontation.
    4. The Dent-Price letter does not take a position on whether sanctions should be ramped up or relaxed, nor does it take a position on the military option.
  6. When you're done with your call, report it here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/dent-price-call-report

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Dent-Price Call-In: Report Your Call Here!

Report your call to your Representative concerning the Dent-Price letter here.

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An Important Opportunity to Support US-Iran Talks

The recent Iranian presidential election marks an important opportunity to promote US-Iran talks. Hassan Rouhani was selected in a decisive first-round vote. Rouhani ran on a platform of engaging with the world and has promised to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace,” saying that both the US and Iran “need to think more about the future and try to sit down and find solutions to past issues and rectify things.” [1] [2]

A bipartisan group of representatives led by Republican Charles Dent and Democrat David Price are seizing this opportunity by gathering signatures on a letter urging President Obama to reinvigorate US efforts to engage in diplomacy with Iran. Tell your Representative to sign on today.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/dent-price

Some in the media and Congress have been saying that Rouhani's election doesn't mean anything and that it shouldn't affect US engagement with Iran. While it remains to be seen whether Rouhani will be a boon to US-Iran relations, there are reasons to be optimistic. For one, President Ahmadinejad's rhetoric was often used as an excuse for US disengagement, so a change of guard deflates many anti-diplomacy arguments. And although the highest authority in Iran remains Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani's landslide victory over his "hardline" rivals-he garnered 51% of the electorate, compared to 17% for the runner-up, in one of the highest voter turnouts in an Iranian presidential election-is being seen by many as a mandate for a more moderate government perspective, both at home and abroad. [4] Ignoring the pro-diplomacy results of the election would undercut those in Iran who want a diplomatic solution and embolden those who want confrontation.

Obey the Law: U.S. Must Cut Aid to Egypt After Military Coup

Last week, there was a military coup in Egypt that removed the democratically elected president from office. Yesterday, the Egyptian military killed more than 50 people who were protesting the coup. [1]

No matter what one thinks of President Morsi, a coup is a coup. By longstanding U.S. law, U.S. aid to Egypt—which happens to be mostly military aid—must be suspended until a democratically elected government takes office. If the law isn’t followed in this case, it will send a signal to U.S.-supported militaries around the world that they can overthrow elected governments without jeopardizing U.S. military aid.

Demand that President Obama follow the law, and urge your Representative and Senators to insist that he do so.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/egypt-coup

The law says: [2]

Coups d'Etat

Sec. 7008. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d'etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such government if the President determines and certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office: Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes: Provided further, That funds made available pursuant to the previous provisos shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.

Catholic Priest Killed by Syrian Rebels? Tell Congress to Stand Up

The U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution insist that absent an armed attack on the United States, Congress shall decide when to authorize the use of U.S. military force. But apparently the Obama Administration has different ideas.

The Administration has announced that the U.S. will arm rebels in Syria and is considering a "no fly zone," which would mean bombing Syria. Congress has authorized neither.

A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives is standing up, led by Sens. Tom Udall and Rand Paul in the Senate, and Reps. Peter Welch and Chris Gibson in the House. They've introduced legislation that would expressly prohibit the Obama Administration intervening militarily in Syria's sectarian civil war without explicit Congressional authorization. Urge your Senators and Representative to stand up and support this legislation.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/syria-war-powers

Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rick Nolan (D-MN), and Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2494) to block U.S. military intervention in Syria without an affirmative vote of Congress. [1] Identical legislation (S. 1201) has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT). [2]

Sending military assistance to Syrian rebels, or any direct military intervention, would lead to Americanization of Syria's sectarian civil war. Congress and the American people should be part of a vigorous debate before any such military escalation takes place.

Join Oliver Stone & Noam Chomsky in Urging Correa to Grant Snowden Asylum

The U.S. government’s crackdown on whistleblowers is a direct threat to our efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy to make it more just. If we don't know for sure what the U.S. government is doing, we can’t have an effective democratic debate about what U.S. policy should be.

Faced with the threat of persecution by the U.S, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied to the government of Ecuador for political asylum. Join Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, and Tom Hayden in urging President Correa to grant Snowden’s asylum request.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/snowden

Recently, as part of a CodePink peace delegation to Yemen, I met with the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein. We delivered a petition signed by over 18,000 people urging Ambassador Feierstein to work quickly to transfer the Yemenis at Guantanamo who have been cleared for release and to work quickly to curtail U.S. drone strikes in Yemen as President Obama as promised.

In the course of this conversation, Ambassador Feierstein claimed that there are no “signature strikes” in Yemen – no strikes in which the U.S. doesn’t know who it is targeting. This claim is completely at odds with press reports. When I told a British reporter that Ambassador Feierstein had said this, she said: “He wouldn’t dare say that to me, because he knows I’d laugh in his face.”

This disconnect between what U.S. government officials say about the drone strikes and the record of independent reporting is only possible because of official government secrecy around the drone strikes. This secrecy is enabled by the unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. This secrecy is a key obstacle to our efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy.

Hunger Striker Near Death? Set Timetable to Transfer Yemeni Detainees

On Wednesday, I met with family members of Yemenis detained at Guantanamo.

Personally, I think U.S. officials are working to try to repatriate the fifty-six Yemenis in Guantanamo who have been cleared for transfer.

But after President Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo didn’t come true, after waiting so long with little information, the families don’t know what to believe.

At this writing, Yemenis who have been cleared for transfer are on hunger strike.

Yemen’s human rights minister says that one of the Yemeni hunger strikers is near death.

It is a plausible danger that one of the Yemenis cleared for release will die on hunger strike, having lost faith that the U.S. will transfer him to Yemen any time in the near future.

If that happens, it would be a tragedy that could have been avoided.

That’s why we want President Obama to establish a public timetable for the transfer of the Yemenis cleared for release back to Yemen. The U.S. needs to communicate to the prisoners’ families that there is a clear horizon for sending their relatives home.

Will you join us in calling on President Obama to establish—and Members of Congress to support—a public timetable for the transfer of the Yemeni detainees cleared for release? You can sign our petition here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/guantanamo-yemen

We're Delivering Signatures Against Drone Strikes in Yemen Next Week-Sign Today!

Next week, I'm heading to Yemen on a delegation of US peace advocates, where we'll be meeting Gerald Feierstein, the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen. We'll urge Ambassador Feierstein to use his influence to end U.S. drone strikes in Yemen—especially "signature strikes" in which the US doesn't even know who it is targeting—and to ensure that Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo who the US government has cleared for release are sent home without delay.

Add your voice! Sign our petition and I'll hand-deliver it—with your signature—to Ambassador Feierstein:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/yemen

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help support my trip to Yemen! Our delegation will help draw the media spotlight to the US's ongoing drone war in Yemen and put further pressure on the Administration to reform US drone strike policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate/yemen

Cessez le Feu! Don't Let France Kill the Syria Peace Talks

Usually when we write to you, it's the U.S. government that is blocking chances for diplomacy to prevent, contain, reduce and end violent conflict.

But this time it's different. This time, it's the French who appear to be standing in the way of peace!

The U.S. and Russia have agreed to host a peace conference to try to end the Syrian civil war. But France says it will oppose the peace conference if Iran is invited. C'est scandaleux!

For peace talks to have a chance to end the war, all the parties involved in the conflict have to be there. Excluding Iran would likely condemn the peace talks to failure, more Syrian civilians would die for no reason, and calls for direct US military intervention would increase.

Join us in telling Washington to explain to France that trying to exclude Iran from the Syria peace talks would be a major faux pas.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/diplomacy-faux-pas

Last Friday, Reuters reported: [1]

“As far as we are concerned, not Iran," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told reporters in Paris, discussing who should attend. "What's at stake is regional stability and we can't see how a country that represents a threat to this stability could attend this conference.”
The U.S., on the other hand, kept the possibility of Iran's participation open:

The United States said on Thursday that it was not ruling anyone in or out of the conference.
As Al-Monitor argued in a recent editorial, [2]

For the Geneva II conference on Syria to have the best chance of enacting a cease-fire and beginning a transition, Iran needs to be there.
[...]
It should be a no-brainer to have all parties to a conflict represented at a peace conference. There is no "transition" in Syria absent a cease-fire, and no cease-fire without Iran, which provides the military and intelligence lifeline to the Assad regime.

Iran is unlikely to agree to a deal where its interests and influence are not recognized in Syria.