A US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard claims she has met with President Assad on a secret fact-finding mission to Syria. During an exclusive interview with CNN, Gabbard also said former President Obama funded terrorist groups with links to ISIS, al Qaeda and al-Nusra.
Gabbard claims that all opposition groups fighting in Syria are “terrorists”, not “moderate rebels” as claimed by Obama. She received this information by talking to the Syrian people who were apparently baffled at her mentioning of such “moderate rebels”.
She said, “Regardless of the name of these groups the strongest fighting force on the ground in Syria is al-Nusra or al Qaeda and ISIS…There’s a number of different other groups, all of them are fighting essentially alongside, with or under the command of the strongest group on the ground that’s trying to overthrow Assad”.
And thus, she claims Obama is actually funding terrorist groups with links to powerful terrorist organisations like ISIS. This further advances current accusations against Obama that legitimately claim he funded terrorist organisations. It was only recently confirmed that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were doing the same.
This revelation has sparked criticisms from both Republicans and Democrats, many of whom have condemned her visit as unofficial and “premature”. Some suggest she may have violated the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorised individuals from meeting with foreign leaders or governments opposed by America.
The congresswoman’s office, however, claims that her visit was authorised by the House ethics committee, which usually provides approval to legitimise members’ actions. The committee itself makes it necessary for members to reveal approval letters, which are used by the committee to authorise particular actions, 15 days after returning.
Gabbard said she didn’t intend at first to meet with Assad, but “When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace. And that’s exactly what we talked about”.
Who is Tulsi Gabbard?
Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of European and Samoan ancestry, is the first Hindu member of the US Congress. She is a member of the House committee on foreign relations, which itself was oblivious to Gabbard’s travels as they were not official.
She was one of the 47 Democrats who supported a Republican effort to block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from resettling in the US. She openly opposed the Obama administration for providing aid to Syrian rebels, which she now claims are terrorists associated with ISIS, al Qaeda, and/or al-Nusra.
Gabbard met with Trump in November last year to discuss foreign policy. Both agree on cutting funding to rebel groups in Syria, a policy that helped define Trump’s campaign.
Rep Gabbard has come under fire for her visit from across the spectrum. It is true that this mission comes as a shock to many.
Evan McMullin said in a tweet: “Why are so many of our leaders becoming stooges of foreign dictators and war criminals? @TulsiGabbard@realDonaldTrump”, referring to Trump’s policy to cooperate with Russia and avoid conflict.
Republican congressman Adamn Kinzinger told reporters, “In no way should any member of Congress, should any government official, ever travel to meet with a guy that has killed 500,000 people and 50,000 children.”
Kinzinger also makes the legitimate criticism that Gabbard’s claims of seeing so many pro-Assad Syrians may be biased. After all, it would come at no surprise that Assad may have taken her on tours to areas where the population side with him.
John McCain said, “It send the wrong signal. It kind of legitmizes a guy who butchered 400,000 of his own people.”
It comes as no surprise that many members criticised and condemned Gabbard’s actions, as many politicians of this day and age seem to have a problem with people who reveal the truth. Of course, it is hard to ascertain Gabbard’s claims as completely accurate. Yet her revelations regarding her journey to Syria seem to be aligned with the current view regarding the Obama administration’s relationship with the Middle East: Obama funded terrorists.