Condemning Violations of International Law By the Government of Syriaby Representative Brad Sherman
Posted on 2016-03-14
SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I want to commend the gentleman from New Jersey for authoring and bringing this resolution to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, Syria and much of Iraq face two great evils. ISIS is well-known to us, and its evil is established by them on their own Web sites every day.
The second evil is the extremist Shiite alliance, consisting of Iran, Assad, Hezbollah, and many of the Shiite militias based in Baghdad to Basra. And, of course, this Shiite alliance is aided by Russia, although today there were reports that give us a glimmer of hope that Russia will be diminishing its role in the Syrian conflict.
The Shiite extremist alliance, I believe, is even more dangerous than ISIS since they include two state actors and a nuclear program. And the extremist Shiite alliance has killed more Americans than ISIS, from the Marines who died in Lebanon in the 1980s, to the IEDs that were manufactured in Iran and deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is a substantial difference in style between these two evil forces. When ISIS kills people, they put the beheadings on YouTube. When Assad kills thousands with his barrel bombs, or even with chemical weapons there for a while, Assad had the good taste to deny it. But different styles do not mask the fact that we are confronted with two great evils; and this resolution, I think, is an important step in dealing with those evils.
This resolution condemns the gross violation of international law, perpetrated by the Assad regime and those forces supporting Assad, which have amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We all hope that the current ceasefire holds and even holds better than it has, but 5 years of civil war in Syria has shown us the use of weapons we thought were relegated only to the history books, including chemical weapons used by the Syrian government against its own civilians.
Assad has conducted deliberate bombings of schools, hospitals, and humanitarian sites for the clear purpose of causing civilians to flee, and overall, he has conducted a brutal war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and sent millions fleeing the country.
He has been aided in this process by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose chief spokesman redisclosed just last week how proud the Revolutionary Guard Corps is of helping Assad and how Tehran is helping to finance both Hezbollah and the Shiite militias that are helping Assad.
The resolution before us today makes specific mention of the role that Iran and the Shiite extremist militias are playing, and that is an important part of the resolution. So I agree with the gentleman from New Jersey. It is time to show the people who are committing these war crimes that there will be a tribunal, that they will be personally held to account.
And while I would hope that would drive home a message that would be relevant both to those who direct ISIS and those surrounding Assad, I think it will have a bigger impact on the generals around Assad who do not view themselves as martyrs, but view themselves as powerful individuals in Syria who would wish to travel and enjoy the good life with money they have stolen and taken from the Syrian people.
So I do not see that I have any speakers on our side, and I have been notified that I should not expect any, and for that reason, I yield back the balance of my time.