Lake County News- Thompson votes against arming Syrian opposition groups to fight ISIL
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), a senior member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday voted against arming Syrian opposition groups to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
The authorization to arm and train the Syrian opposition groups passed the House by a vote of 273-156.
“ISIL is a dangerous terrorist organization that must be stopped. It has brutally murdered two American citizens, and it poses a threat to the United States, our allies, and to regional stability,” Thompson said.
“However, arming Syrian opposition groups alone is not an effective strategy to combat the ISIL terrorist group and diminish its capacity to operate,” Thompson continued. “There has been inadequate vetting of these opposition groups. We do not have enough information on the people we are proposing to arm and train. We cannot ensure that these weapons will not fall into the hands of ISIL, or be used against other innocent civilians. And, we need a better strategy in place to engage a broad, international coalition of Muslim countries to fight alongside these Syrian opposition groups.
“Simply arming the Syrian opposition groups comes with great risk. Instead, we need a comprehensive strategy that includes a debate and vote in Congress that specifically authorizes the use of force against ISIL, and the involvement of a broad, international coalition of Muslim and Western countries to diminish ISIL and degrade their organizational capabilities,” Thompson said.
Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.