In late September, Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) and 54 of his colleagues in the House sent a letter to the President calling on the administration to convene international talks with all interested parties. Since then, the US has helped convene negotiations aimed at ending the 4-year civil war, and has backed away from its previous aversion to Iran’s participation in negotiations, as the letter called for. While these developments are encouraging, diplomacy is always a delicate process, and given the recent US military escalation in Syria, Congress can and must do more to encourage the administration to prioritize diplomatic solutions over failing military strategies.
Realizing this, on October 29, Representative Himes (D-CT) introduced a resolution calling on President Obama to continue pursuing a diplomatic solution to end the Syrian Civil War.
In a press release, Himes explained the importance of this resolution:
Unless we speak up and express the desire of the American people to fully support efforts to peacefully end to the Syrian Civil War using diplomacy, we risk the United States engaging in another open-ended conflict in the Middle East… All of these crises – the Syrian Civil War, the refugee crisis, and the expansion of ISIL – stem from the same instability in the region… Every additional bomb that falls or soldier who joins the fight adds to that escalating instability and violence. The only way to bring about an end to the problem is to engage all of the states that have influence and interests in Syria to find a peaceful, diplomatic solution.
So far 21 reps have co-sponsored the resolution, and whether or not it ultimately passes in this Republican-led Congress, each new signer increases pressure on the administration to put diplomacy first, to be willing to compromise for the sake of a more peaceful Middle East, and to stop pouring “gasoline on the fire” with continued escalations of force. As talks continue, the administration needs to know that Congress and the American people are tired of our perpetual war footing in the Middle East, and this resolution is the next step in demonstrating that.
Please call your representative at the Congressional Switchboard at 844-735-1362 and tell them to co-sponsor H. Res. 508.