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By: Elias J. Atienza
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) introduced a bill to cut off U.S funds to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and to any countries who supports these terrorist groups. It currently has no co-sponsors and the bill’s text is currently unavailable.
However, the bill is similar to what Paul has said in the past about terrorist groups who are funded by the Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Qatar has been accused of supporting Jabhat Fatem Al-Sham (also known as the Al-Nusra Front) with political and financial support. In addition, Qatar has been accused of funding Islamic extremists in Syria beyond the Al-Nusra Front.
In a Time op-ed back in November 2015, Paul wrote:
“Let’s be done with it. From now on, our message to these governments and their ruling families must be clear: take accountability for your role in murdering our citizens or we will freeze your assets. Locate the citizens who are financing terrorism and lock them up or we won’t sell you a single missile or fighter jet. The U.S. does not do business with terror financiers, period.”
Paul has been against arming countries who often have conducted foreign policy contrary to American national interests and violate basic human rights. Back in September he tried to stop an arms deals with Saudi Arabia due to their bombing campaign in Yemen which has killed thousands and targeted institutions like schools and hospitals. He has been opposed to arming Syrian rebels with the exception of the Kurds.
A Democratic Representative, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, has introduced a similar bill into the House a few months ago. Titled Stop Arming Terrorists Act, the bill would prohibit the United States government from “using American taxpayer dollars to provide funding, weapons, training, and intelligence support to groups like the Levant Front, Fursan al Ha and other allies of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda and ISIS, or to countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.”