POLICYBRIEFING

Prevent War With Iran The Risk of War with Iran Remains Severe

• Many have criticized President Trump’s recent killing of General Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, as a risky1 and disproportionate2 move that would result in dangerous escalation.3

• While some U.S. and European government officials say Iran’s recent missile attacks on two U.S. bases in Iraq was strategically done4 in order to minimize casualties, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell believes Iran is likely to carry out additional long-term retaliation.5 The erratic Trump administration could easily make a blunder that triggers a series of tit-for-tat military responses that spiral into full blown war. Only de-escalation and robust diplomacy can prevent that.

• Despite President Trump’s recent decision to respond to Iran’s missile attack with more sanctions instead of a U.S. strike, his initial instinct and vows to retaliate with a bombing of 52 Iranian sites, including many of cultural importance, demonstrates why Congress needs to intervene. Such an impulsive overreaction — which has been rejected by the Pentagon6 — would not only constitute a war crime according to international law, but would also endanger civilians and likely galvanize Iranians against the U.S.

• Sending additional troops7 to the Middle East further escalates the situation and can lead to accidental spark of war. U.S. troops in the Middle East make U.S. casualties — and therefore a war with Iran — more likely.
 Congress Must Assert Its Authority Over the Use of Military Force

• The Constitution grants Congress sole authority over the decision to go to war. As Congress has not authorized the use of force against Iran, any use of preemptive or preventive force against Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional.

• Twice now, last June and this January, the U.S. has come to the brink of war with Iran. Congress can not allow a third crisis and potential miscalculation to spark all out war.

• Multiple Members of Congress recently briefed on Gen. Soleimeni’s killing have called into question8 the administration’s assertion of an imminent threat9 as legal justification, saying evidence was “grossly unspecific”10 and unconvincing, seeing “echoes of Iraq.”11

• The administration’s other assertion that the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) allowed Gen. Soleimeni’s killing is quite dubious. Sen. Rand Paul explained12: “I see no way in the world you could logically argue that an authorization to have war with Saddam Hussein has anything to [do] with having war with people currently in Iraq.” 1 Tootsi, Nahal, Daniel Lippman, and Wesley Morgan, Trump takes massive gamble with killing of Iranian commander, Politico,  January 2, 2020 2 Clark, Wesley K., Killing a top Iranian military leader was a whack-for-tat move, The Washington Post, January 3, 2020 3 Filkins, Dexter, The Dangers Posed by the Killing of Qassem Suleimani, The New Yorker, January 3, 2020 4 Hosenball, Mark and Matt Spetalnick, Iran believed to have deliberately missed U.S. forces in Iraq strikes: sources, Reuters, January 8, 2020 5 Dorfman, Zach, Iran’s Revenge Plans Are Bigger Than Missile Strikes, Foreign Policy, January 8, 2020 6 Baker, Peter and Maggie Haberman, Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting Trump, The New York Times, January 6, 2020 7 Soleimani killing: US deploying 3,000 more troops to Middle East, AlJazeera, January 3, 2020 8 Murphy, Chris, Twitter, January 8, 2020 9 Ward, Alex, “Probably the worst briefing I’ve seen”: Inside the disastrous congressional Iran meeting,” Vox, January 8, 2020 10 Duehren, Andrew, Pelosi Sets House Vote on War-Powers Bill for Thursday, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 20202 11 Udall, Tom, Following Congressional Briefing on Iran, Udall Urges Senate to Halt the March to War, Press Release, January 8, 2020 12 Carney, Jordain, Rand Paul, Mike Lee rip administration over ‘insulting and demeaning’ Iran briefing, The Hill, January 8, 2020
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War with Iran Would Be a Disaster

• Iran’s military doctrine13 is designed specifically to counter enemies with greater technological superiority.

• Ilan Goldberg, Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, explains14: “The Islamic Republic can use proxy forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen to attack the United States and its partners. It has an arsenal of ballistic missiles that can target U.S. bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Its mines and land-based antiship missiles can wreak havoc in the Strait of Hormuz and drive up global oil prices. Iran has the capacity to shut down a significant portion of Saudi oil production with aggressive sabotage or cyberattacks, and with its paramilitary unit known as the Quds Force, Iran can attack U.S. targets around the globe.”

• Going to war with Iran could fuel anti-American sentiment and violent extremism in Iran and the region for generations to come and spiral into a wider regional war15 with unimaginable consequences. Only Diplomacy Can Avert War

• The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign has failed to bring Iran into negotiations for a new nuclear deal, instead pushing them into a more substantial withdrawal16 from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

• Instead of rejecting diplomacy and urging other signatories of the nuclear deal to do the same, the U.S. should find a way to return to the negotiation table. The U.S. should embrace European calls for restraint and employ allied lines of communication17 to open diplomatic channels with Iran. Only good-faith diplomatic measures can reduce dangerously high tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

• Diplomatic channels established during negotiations can be crucial for peacefully deescalating potentially tense situations, as evidenced by the swift release of U.S. soldiers18 captured at sea in January 2016. Steps Members of Congress Can Take

• In the Senate, co-sponsor S.Con.Res.33 introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), as the next step to H.Con.Res.83 introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.

• Co-sponsor S.J.Res.68 introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.

• Cosponsor S.J.Res.13 introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) or H.R.2456 introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2002 AUMF against Iraq.

• Co-sponsor the No War Against Iran Act, S.3159 introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or H.R.5543 introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) to prohibit the use of funds for unauthorized military force against Iran, and for other purposes.

• Spotlight the administration’s lack of authorization to go to war with Iran and make statements opposing war.
13 Connell, Michael, Iran’s Military Doctrine, The Iran Primer, October 11, 2010 14 Goldenberg, Ilan, What a War With Iran Would Look Like, Foreign Affairs, June 4, 2019 15 Rafati, Nayson, Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry, International Crisis Group Commentary, November 1, 2018 16 Marcus, Jonathan. Is the Iran nuclear deal dead and buried?, BBC News, January 6, 2020 17 Wintour, Patrick, Diplomacy over Iran is still possible – if only to avoid an all-out war, The Guardian, January 5, 2020 18 Sharafedin, Bozorgmehr and Phil Stewart, Iran frees U.S. sailors swiftly as diplomacy smoothes waters, Reuters, January 12, 2016

CALL CONGRESS A LOT  "The squeaky wheel gets the oil"

Bill to prevent U.S. from striking first with nuclear weapons

 

Paul Sonne reporting at WaPo  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/top-democrats-introduce-bill-to-prevent-us-from-striking-first-with-nuclear-weapons/2019/01/30/a5959ee6-24bc-11e9-ba08-caf4ff5a3433_story.html  (also attached in case you hit a paywall) 

 

CNN politics   

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/30/politics/warren-adam-smith-nuclear-weapons/index.html

MARYLAND SENATORS BENJAMIN CARDIN and CHRIS VAN HOLLEN at (202) 224-3121.

In 2019 the House voted in favor of ending U.S. military involvement in the Saudi-led attacks on the people of Yemen. Now we are urging the Senate to vote yes on S.J.Res. 7, which would send the War Powers Resolution to the president’s desk.

There is a growing risk that nuclear weapons will be used. Far from taking steps to fulfill its long-standing nuclear disarmament obligation, our government is upgrading its arsenal, developing new nuclear weapons and making them easier to use. It is shocking to think that the president can launch nuclear weapons without Congressional approval. 

We are asking you to support the following initiatives:

 

ICAN Parliamentarian Pledge to support the Nuclear Ban Treaty;

 

S.272 - A bill to establish the policy of the United States regarding the no-first-use of nuclear weapons;

 

S.200 - Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2019;

 

S.401 - A bill to prohibit the research and development, production, and deployment of the Trident D5 low-yield nuclear warhead, and for other purposes; and

 

S.312 - Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2019.

 

The government plans to spend 49 billion dollars yearly to “modernize” nuclear weapons, which would make them more usable. 

Ask them to support:

  • S.2016 introduced by Ed Markey "No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act."

  • S.2047 by Chris Murphy to prevent kinetic military operations in North Korea.

  • S.J.Res.40 by Chris Murphy to limit air-to-ground munitions sales to Saudi Arabia

  • S.200 by Markey "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act."

  • S.1235 by Markey to reduce spending from the $1.7 trillion nuclear arsenal expansion.

    Also, here are the main House bills we are supporting, with lists of co-sponsors:
     

  • H Res 152 - Calling for a Formal End to the Korean War introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (CA)

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/152/cosponsors
     

  • HR 1771 - Divided Families Reunification Act introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (NY)

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1771/cosponsors

U.S. REPRESENTATIVES FROM MARYLAND at (202) 224-3121.

Andrew P. Harris (R), 1st Congressional District

C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III (D), 2nd Congressional District

John P. Sarbanes (D), 3rd Congressional District

Anthony G. Brown (D), 4th Congressional District

Steny H. Hoyer (D), 5th Congressional District

David Trone (D), 6th Congressional District

Jamin B. (Jamie) Raskin (D), 8th Congressional District

Ask them to support:

   *  H.R. 921 A bill to establish the policy of the United States regarding the no-first-use of nuclear weapons;

  • H.R.4837 introduced by Ro Khanna "No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea”

  • H.R.1473 by Barbara Lee to prevent US troop deployments to Syria.

  • H.Con.Res.81 by Khanna, Thomas Massie, Mark Pocan, and Walter Jones to end  support in unauthorized activities in Yemen (aka U.S. Saudi coalition support).

  • H.R.669 by Ted Lieu "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act"

  • H.R.4415 by Adam Smith about establishing a no nuclear first use policy.

  • H.R.2668 by Earl Blumenauer to reduce spending from the $1.7 trillion nuclear arsenal expansion plan.

 

Cardin, Hoyer and Ruppersberger have already told us “I believe in a strong military” when we complained about the bloated $717 Billion military budget.  We believe it could be cut in half without sacrificing national defense. This budget is obviously for unnecessary military aggression for war profits.

What terrific news, that North and South Korea are trying diplomacy!

But we are still far from being out of the woods with respect to the danger of a nuclear first strike by our own government--on Korea, or maybe on Iran. The "command and control" of nuclear weapons remains in Doctor Strangelove mode.

Korea needs peace, and the world needs Korea to achieve peace.

Here are the critical steps that are needed.

We are asking people everywhere on Earth to sign this petition to U.S. President Donald Trump:

We urge you to conclude a binding peace agreement constituting a formal and final end to the state of war between North Korea, South Korea, and the United States. We also ask that you direct the U.S. State Department to consult with officials of South Korea and with representatives of Korean Americans on potential opportunities to reunite Korean American families with family members in North Korea. In addition, we ask that you implement UN resolution 3390 of November 18, 1975, instructing the United States to dissolve the so-called United Nations Command in South Korea.

In addition, U.S. residents should click here to send an email that will go to your Representative and Senators, asking them to cosponsor and promote H.Res.152 (and parallel legislation in the Senate) calling for a formal end of the Korean war, and H.R.1771 (and the same in the Senate) directing that efforts be undertaken to reunite Korean Americans with their family members in North Korea, as well as asking them to dissolve the United Nations Command in South Korea.

Please forward this email to everyone who cares about peace.

Please share or like on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Please read and share this PDF flyer with "talking points" from Korea Peace Now.

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support our work for a culture of peace.

 

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In 1967, Israel annexed the Golan Heights and has occupied the territory ever since.  Since that time, Israel has steadily depopulated the area by demolishing village after village, killing and displacing the local inhabitants and replacing them with Israeli settlers.  These actions are in violation of international law, not accepted by the international community, and contradictory to American values.  

Two new bills, recently introduced, H.R.1372, and S.567, seek to recognize the Golan Heights as officially belonging to Israel.  This would set a dangerous precedent and indicate to the West Bank and Gaza that they too may soon suffer a similar fate.  This will only increase overall tensions in the region, leading to further suffering and loss of life.

Please oppose these bills!  Thank you.

 

The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” would prohibit U.S. foreign aid from contributing to “the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.” Additionally, it would authorize $19 million dollars annually to fund NGOs monitoring human rights abuses associated with the military detention of children and provide physical and mental health services to children who have been victims of military detention, abuse, and torture.


 

The Bill was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum from Minnesota,and has found co-sponsors...BUT NOT IN MARYLAND. What if Maryland had some women in its delegation?   And, right now with the vacant seat following Rep.Cummings' death, don't hesitate to call another office and ask that your voice be heard.

 

Main switchboard 202- 225-2131 and transfer to any of the following Maryland Representatives:

Brown, Harris, Hoyer, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Trone

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