June 18, 2019

Bipartisan Group of Congressional Members Warn Trump of Threats to Israel in Letter

Almost 400 members of Congress wrote a letter to President Donald Trump Monday warning him of the myriad threats Israel currently faces.

The letter, which was signed by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), among others, argued that “ungoverned space” in Syria is allowing terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda to fester. The letter also warns that Iran and Russia are both aiming to establish a “permanent military presence” in Syria.

“In the past year alone, an Iranian-armed drone infiltrated Israeli airspace and the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) fired dozens of missiles toward Israel from Syria,” the letter stated. “Additionally, Iran continues its program to pursue a direct overland route from Iran to Lebanon. That connection would better facilitate Iran’s supplying of Hezbollah terrorists and other Iranian-backed militias with deadly weapons.”

Similarly, Russia’s military assets in Syria are aiming to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, including providing the Assad regime with anti-aircraft capabilities that are “complicating Israel’s ability to defend itself from hostile action emanating from Syria.” Additionally, Russia has shown “no willingness to expel Iranian forces from Syria,” the letter argued.

The letter also noted that Hezbollah is becoming “more potent,” pointing that “Hezbollah has aimed more than 100,000 rockets and missiles at Israel that are increasingly more precise and of longer-range, giving the terrorist group the capability to strike anywhere in Israel.” Additionally, Hezbollah has been attempting to create “a terror network on the border between Israel and Syria.”

The members of Congress concluded the letter by urging Trump to reiterate Israel’s right to self-defense and ramp up sanctions against Iran, Russia and Hezbollah.