14 Group Coalition Letter Urging Congress Prevent War with Iran

Thanks to the 14 advocacy groups that signed this letter urging Congress prevent unauthorized war with Iran! It was delivered to Sens Durbin and Duckworth on June 24th, 2019.

Help us spread the word by doing the following:

  1. Download the letter and send it to your Rep and two Senators
  2. Call your to Rep and two Senators and urge they cosponsor S1039 and HR 2354 to prevent war with Iran
  3. Share this page on social media and your local paper
  4. If you are interested in leading a local sign on letter to your Rep and Senators, please email me directly at hassan@chipeaceaction.org

Thank you for helping us create a more sane foreign policy.

Hassan El-Tayyab, Policy and Organizing Director at Chicago Area Peace Action

June 24th, 2019

Dear Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation,  

We write to request your support for S.1039/H.R.2354, the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Udall and Representative Eshoo. These resolutions would prevent funding from being appropriated in the event of an unauthorized U.S. military intervention in Iran.

Congressional opposition to U.S. military intervention in Iran could not come at a more urgent time. The Trump administration has moved the U.S. into a war posture with Iran through increased hostile rhetoric, crippling economic sanctions, and by using the routine deployment of a battleship in the region to threaten “unrelenting force”. Recently, National Security Advisor John Bolton was reported to be overseeing the revision of war plans to send upwards of 120,000 troops and 120 additional warships to the Middle East with the intention of provoking war with Iran.

Congress must not be idle witnesses in a repetition of the playbook for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Trump Administration must be reminded that it is constrained by a lack of Congressional authorization for war, and the fact that the 2001 AUMF can’t be twisted to give a green light for launching military action against Iran.

As tensions continue to rise, it is vital that Congress preemptively assert its constitutional war authority and stop the Administration from launching a disastrous war against Iran. We urge you to cosponsor S.1039 and H.R.2354 before it’s too late.

Sincerely,

Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training

Anti War and Racism Effort

American Friends Service Committee – Chicago

CAPA DePaul

CAPA Loyola

Chicago Area Peace Action

Chicago Committee Against War and Racism (CCAWR)

Just Foreign Policy

Neighbors for Peace

RootsAction

The Poor Peoples Campaign

Veterans Against the War & Iraq Veterans Against the War

Voices for Creative Non-Violence

World Beyond War


15 Group Coalition letter Urging Congress to Prevent War With Venezuela

Thanks to the 15 advocacy groups that signed this letter urging Congress prevent unauthorized war with Venezuela! It was delivered to Sens Durbin and Duckworth on June 24th, 2019.

Help us spread the word by doing the following:

  1. Download the letter and send it to your Rep and two Senators
  2. Call your to Rep and two Senators and urge they cosponsor SJRes11 and HR1004 to prevent war with Venezuela
  3. Share this page on social media and your local paper
  4. If you are interested in leading a local sign on letter to your Rep and Senators, please email me directly at hassan@chipeaceaction.org

Thank you for helping us create a more sane foreign policy.

Hassan El-Tayyab, Policy and Organizing Director at Chicago Area Peace Action

June 24, 2019

Dear Members of the Illinois Delegation,

We write to request your support for S.J.Res.11 and H.R.1004 – Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Resolution of 2019 – introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Cicilline of Rhode Island.

Congress’s adoption of S.JRes.11 and H.R.1004 could not come at a more urgent time. U.S. officials in charge of policy toward Venezuela, such as Elliott Abrams, have pursued a strategy provocation and confrontation. In violation of the Charter of the Organization of the American States, and the Charter of the United Nations, and therefore treaty obligations of the United States, President Trump has publicly declared that all options, including U.S. military force, are on the table. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe recounted that in 2017 President Trump privately argued that Venezuela is the “country we should be going to war with. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”

National Security Advisor John Bolton has publicly stated that “in this administration, we’re not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine,” has clutched documents referring to a proposal to deploy “5,000 troops to Colombia,” and has argued that “it will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Meanwhile, Secretary Pompeo explicitly endorsed U.S. military action recently stating: “Military action is possible.  If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do” in Venezuela.

We applaud Congress for voting to reassert its sole authority over war and peace under Article I of the Constitution and working to bring an end to the unauthorized U.S.-Saudi military campaign in Yemen with the historic passage of the Yemen War Powers Resolution. S.J.Res.11 and H.R.1004 both invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

We call on you to again ensure that Congressional war powers be exercised in the case of Venezuela through Congress’s adoption of S.J.Res.11 and H.R.1004. Administration officials and members of Congress who seek to involve the United States military in a regime change effort in Venezuela have a constitutional obligation to present their case to both chambers of Congress and have the people’s duly elected representatives carefully debate and vote on whether to authorize any such proposal.

Sincerely,

About Face: Veterans Against the War & Iraq Veterans Against the War (Chicago)

Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training

American Friends Service Committee – Chicago

AWARE of Champaign Urbana

CAPA DePaul

CAPA Loyola

Chicago Committee Against War and Racism

Chicago Committee for Justice in Ayotzinapa

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America – CRLN

Clean Count Cook County

Just Foreign Policy

Neighbors For Peace, Evanston/Chicago

Students for Justice in Palestine

Veterans For Peace – Chicago Chapter

Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Congress Can End the Yemen War This Summer, Despite Trump

By Hassan El-Tayyab, Policy and Organizing Director at Chicago Area Peace Action

Published in Truthout June 8th, 2019

On April 16, President Trump vetoed one of the most historically significant pieces of legislation to emerge from Congress during his presidency: S.J.Res.7, the Yemen War Powers Resolution. This bill would end U.S. military involvement in the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) disastrous war on Yemen. A veto override vote in the Senate a few weeks later passed with a simple majority of 53-45, but did not achieve the 67 vote supermajority needed to overturn the veto. Though the effort failed, we learned something important in the process: We now know in unequivocal terms that a bipartisan majority in Congress wants to end the U.S. military role in a war that has already claimed the lives of 85,000 children under the age of five due to hunger and disease.

Congress has another chance to end the war this summer during consideration of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Defense Appropriations bills. These annual military spending bills offer Congress one of the quickest and most straightforward ways to defund the war and condemn this military campaign.

Through the NDAA and Defense Appropriations, Congress can prohibit intelligence sharing and logistics support activities for the war in Yemen; suspend direct commercial sales licenses for the maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft used in Saudi-UAE offensive operations in Yemen; and even stop domestic training of Saudi and UAE fighter jet mechanics. Importantly, they could suspend the transfer and sale of weapons ― something many experts believe could be the best chance for creating the leverage needed for lasting peace in Yemen.

Scott Paul, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy lead stated, “The people of Yemen and the parties to the conflict are watching closely and the messages US leaders send have the power to save lives… Congress must act to keep up the pressure, and not let President Trump’s cynical, transactional and heartless brand of politics define America’s role in the world. Now Congress must act to end arms sales to all parties fighting in this brutal conflict.”

Consideration of our national defense budget comes at a critical time for Yemen. In its fifth year, the war has helped create the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with roughly 14 million people at risk of famine. Aid agencies have described Yemen as the worst place in the world to be a child; a child under the age of five dies every 12 minutes as a result of the conflict. More than one million people in Yemen have been infected with cholera, with an alarming 10,000 new cases each week. Why is this? The Saudi-UAE coalition has imposed a de facto blockade on Yemen, impeding the flow of food, fuel and medicine, pushing the prices of essential goods out of reach for millions. An estimated 230,000 people will die as a result of the war if conditions don’t change by the end of 2019.

There is precedent for Congress successfully using the NDAA and Defense Appropriations bills to defund and end wars. During the Vietnam War, members of Congress expressed their dissent through several defunding bills, including the 1971 Congress Cooper-Church Amendment, which prohibited the use of funds to send troops into Cambodia and the 1973 Case-Church Amendment on a State Department appropriations bill, which prevented funds from being used in Southeast Asia.

Last year, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) introduced an amendment to the 2019 Defense Appropriations bill that would have cut off military aid for the Saudi-UAE coalition. Unfortunately, it never came up for a vote, but a majority may support a similar effort this time around after several successful bipartisan votes in 2018 and 2019 on Yemen war powers resolutions that would have achieved similar policy objectives.   

The Trump administration recently announced plans to use emergency powers embedded in the Arms Export Control Act to push through an $8.1 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia without congressional authorization. This move suggests Trump fears a lack of votes necessary to approve these transfers.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would “pursue all appropriate legislative and other means to nullify these and any planned ongoing sales should the administration move forward in this manner.”

Yemen-born activist and In These Times contributor Shireen Al-Adeimi commented, “Trump has shown a complete disregard for the Constitution by vetoing Congress’ bill to end the war and now attempting to bypass Congress for additional weapons sales. He has continued to prioritize profit over human lives and US laws, and Congress has the responsibility and the legal authority to take control.”

Despite what Trump thinks, Congress has the power to end U.S. participation in the Yemen war in the coming weeks. Through consideration of NDAA and Defense Appropriations, and even legal action, Congress can end our complicity in war crimes and send a clear signal to the executive branch that unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi-UAE coalition’s military campaign in Yemen must end. The question is, will they?