Week in Review: Hostile Regimes and Terrorist ThreatsBlog
From sanctioning regimes that threaten the United States to pushing for the release of American hostages in Iran, the House Foreign Affairs Committee was busy at work this week. Below are a few highlights:
Sanctioning Iran, Russia, and North Korea
Iran, Russia, and North Korea are aggressively working to threaten U.S. national security and undermine global stability with a range of aggressive acts. Just yesterday, we saw North Korea launch another intercontinental ballistic missile that could be capable of targeting major U.S. cities.
That is why the House voted 419 to 3 on Tuesday to pass the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364), which sanctions these three hostile regimes. Thursday’s Senate vote of 98 to 2 moved the bill to the White House for the president’s signature.
The families of Iran’s hostages spoke out at a Tuesday hearing convened by the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. Members heard compelling testimony from Douglas Levinson, the son of Robert Levinson, Babak Namazi, the son of Baquer Namazi and brother of Siamak Namazi, and Omar Zakka, the son of Nizar Zakka.
The following day, the full House passed Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s legislation (H. Res. 317), which calls for the unconditional release of Americans being held by Iran for political purposes.
“Iran continues to engage in the despicable practice of detaining foreigners on fabricated criminal charges. These innocent people are held captive under brutal conditions,” said Chairman Royce on the House floor.
The Fight Against ISIS
This week the committee continued its oversight of the administration and its fight against radical jihadist terrorism, with a hearing to examine the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
In recent months, some have suggested updating the 2001 AUMF that is used in the fight against ISIS to better address all the threats of today. At Tuesday’s full committee hearing, Chairman Royce asked the witnesses about a proposal that would repeal the 2001 AUMF without a replacement.
The responses were unanimous…
- Honorable Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States: “I think that would be enormously dangerous.”
- Brigadier General Gross, former Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “…it would create an enormous amount of legal uncertainty with respect to our detention operations in Guantanamo bay and other places.”
- The Honorable Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center: “I share that view.”
As we face determined enemies, the committee will continue its important work of reviewing the AUMF and ensuring our leaders and military have the tools and flexibility needed to defeat our enemies and keep America safe.
On Thursday, Chairman Royce welcomed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to the U.S. Capitol to talk about threats posed by Iran and its top terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
The meeting followed Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel’s introduction of new sanctions legislation (H.R. 3329) to further increase pressure on Hezbollah. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 1595).
“As Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Hezbollah has been fomenting insecurity around the Middle East for decades. Most recently, it has carried out heinous acts of violence in Syria and is amassing more than 100,000 rockets along Israel’s border. The U.S. cannot allow Hezbollah to threaten our ally Israel and undermine our interests in Syria,” said Chairman Royce.