Next week, a week that includes the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on America and the 2nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on Benghazi, U.S. Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) will introduce legislation authorizing the use of military force against international terrorist groups. This will be very welcome news to those who have been watching the spread of jihad across the Middle East and Africa and beyond.
In a press release on September 3, Wolf said “he was compelled to introduce the measure because of the rapid advances made by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as territorial gains made by al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Libya, Nigeria and Somalia.” Wolf named “the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda and its affiliates, like al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab and Boko Haram” in the press release. But the proposed “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF) makes it clear that “any other emerging regional terrorist groups” that “share a common violent extremist ideology” would also be targeted.
Wolf, a long-time advocate for human rights and religious freedom in Sudan/South Sudan, is also well known as a defender of persecuted religious minorities such as the Iraqi Christians and Yazidis currently under threat of genocide by ISIS and the Christians of Nigeria targeted by Boko Haram. He explained several motives behind the new bill in addition to its purpose in defending innocent citizens in the regions now threatened by supremacists building a global caliphate.
The first motive behind the bill is “to end any ambiguity about the president’s authority — or the Congress’ support — for a U.S.-led international coalition to disrupt and eliminate ISIS and al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups from committing genocide.” The press release indicated that this AUMF “would be the first approved by the Congress since the 2001 and 2002 resolutions authorizing military force against al Qaeda and the Taliban and against Saddam Hussein’s regime, and would fill in the gaps from past authorizations to deal with the current terrorist threat, including regional al Qaeda-affiliates who at times try to obfuscate the extent of their relationship with al Qaeda leadership.”
Secondly, although Wolf emphasized the necessity of strong U.S. leadership, the bill “will send a clear message to the international community that the United States intends to work with allies to confront and defeat this increasingly dangerous challenge.” The AUMF bill calls for close consultation, coordination, and cooperation with
NATO and regional allies.” Wolf said that Muslim states must “forcefully confront ISIS and al Qaeda-affiliates.” Secular African states could also benefit from this partnership since Islamist supremacists have plans to extend the “Caliphate” throughout the African continent and beyond.
A third motive behind the bill is to push the president to action. In the press release, Wolf declared, “For far too long the Obama Administration and the Congress have been debating whether or not authority exists for action to address this threat.” This resolution would stop the debate by providing clear authority “for the president and our military, working with coalition partners, to go after these terrorists,” Wolf said.
The Virginia Congressman also plans to introduce the “War Powers Consultation Act of 2014” to “update the War Powers Resolution with a new consultation structure between the executive and legislative branches.” This bill will be a companion piece to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last January by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), and Angus King (I-ME), that appears to be languishing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at present.
The introduction of this legislation will give hope to religious freedom/human rights activists that something can actually be done to end the slaughter of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, and to support the brave Kurdish regional authority that is standing against ISIS. Many have signed the Iraq Rescue petition created by Dr. Robert P. George. I mentioned this petition in my post “What Can YOU do for Persecuted Iraqis?” That petition urges strong action by the United States government, saying, “It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities.” It states firmly, ” This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces.”
Now petition signers can act by urging their own member of Congress to co-sponsor Wolf’s bill, and demanding that Congress expedite the process of passing this legislation before their recess at the end of September. We can also continue to pray for persecuted Iraqis and other victims of ISIS and its cohorts, adding a prayer for wisdom and courage for members of Congress as they consider the AUMF bill, and for all world leaders who are seeking to end this global scourge.