Alternatives to Endless War

 In Iraq


 A Sustainable, Effective Response to ISIS


Instead of another endless war, Members of Congress should stand up in support of effective alternatives to combat the threat from ISIS. Below are possible ways for the U.S. government to take action. These are examples of the many alternatives available to move towards a political solution.


The United States Congress can:

  • Insist that President Obama seek congressional authorization for continued military intervention, and then vote to oppose our latest war in Iraq and Syria
  • Cosponsor measures like H. Con. Res. 114, offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to require Congress to debate, vote, and constrain U.S. military intervention
  • Support measures to prohibit U.S. ground troops and sunset the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs


The United States can take immediate unilateral action to:

  • Tighten loopholes in existing sanctions to help cut off ISIS’s funding streams
  • Condition U.S. support for the Iraqi government on success in stopping sectarian violence and promoting inclusive governance. This can undermine the roots of ISIS’s hold in Iraq
  • Cut off U.S. government contracts with anyone doing business with ISIS
  • Increase humanitarian funds for acute needs. The UN’s Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2014 is only half-way funded. As winter approaches, the key World Food Program has “run out of funds”: rations will be cut and some refugees will go without any WFP aid
  • Stop channeling weapons into a volatile situation. The U.S. has armed Iraqi forces and Syrian rebels despite rights violations. U.S. weapons have ended up in the hands of ISIS
  • Support civil society efforts to build peace and reconciliation at the community level


The United States can support multilateral efforts to:

  • Build regional stability and security through aid for refugee host nation communities to reinforce stressed health, education, and housing infrastructure and to encourage job creation
  • Keep the conflict from spreading to Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon etc. by encouraging a global effort to share responsibility for resettling refugees from Iraq and Syria
  • Prevent problems when ISIS recruits– originating from the U.S.– return by dissuading recruits from leaving in the first place and by monitoring the most dangerous returnees

The United States can work with the United Nations to:

  • Organize humanitarian evacuations of stranded and trapped civilians
  • Impose comprehensive, enforceable financial sanctions against ISIS
    • ISIS profits from selling petroleum, archaeological artifacts, and wheat
  • Restrict ISIS’s access to the international financial system
  • Support a political solution to Syria’s civil war:
    • With the UN and regional powers, press the regime and rebels to support truces to reduce non-combatant deaths and increase the focus on defending against ISIS
    • Re-energize diplomacy for negotiation on a political transition that would include all parties to the conflict as well as outside parties, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia and the U.S. A regional Contact Group could lay the groundwork for peace talks
    • If necessary, the UN General Assembly could assume responsibility under the Uniting for Peace procedure (to circumvent possible Security Council inaction)
    • Begin discussions and planning for a possible international peacekeeping or stabilization mission in Syria (and possibly parts of Iraq)


The United States can work with regional states and organizations to:

  • Engage in strategic outreach to Sunni communities in both Iraq and Syria to address political and economic grievances and thus undermine crucial political support for ISIS. The region’s Sunni powers—the Saudis, Emiratis, Jordanians and Turks—can all play a role
  • Work to impose an arms embargo against all armed actors in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have provided weapons to the opposition, including ISIS, in Syria
  • Work with the states near ISIS territory to close the borders leading into and out of ISIS areas
  • Enforce sanctions against ISIS and stop member nations from purchasing ISIS’s goods
  • Conduct a social media campaign that truthfully exposes the grotesque nature of ISIS ideology in terms that would-be jihadists can understand
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Showing 3 comments
  • BklynDodgerFan

    We have invested too many lives and too much money in attempts to resolve complex international problems via simplistic military action that has proven to be futile. The military-industrial complex caters to our fear of being attacked so that we continue to pay for unnecessary and wasteful defense expenses which don’t even help our economy (except for the super-rich who benefit).

  • Frank A. Walter

    Congress takes its legal bribes (campaign contribution) from AIPAC and rides off into the sunset while the American citizens cough up 3.5 billion yearly for Israel’s war machine (#6 or #7 most powerful in the world), so Israel can bully the occupied Palestinians with illegal embargoes or deadly assaults where 2,200 Palestinians are killed (571 of whom children), 5,000 wounded, 2,300 homes destroyed, schools bombed, hospitals severely damaged, health clinics wiped out, water purification eliminated, sewage disposal badly compromised (last two genocide), and infrastructure ruined–all paid with American tax dollars. Thank you Congress for 9/11 and perpetual war for Israel, a nation requiring 45 vetoes since 1972 for international crimes against Palestinians and other neighbors! Silence is consent. Please raise hell with Congress and demand an end to the atrocities. A two-state solution now!

  • Jerry "Peacemaker"

    It is important to state that ISIS has never so much as spit in the direction of Israel, ISIS operates in the lands where natural gas pipelines from either Iran or Qatar would pass through to the lucrative European markets, and that all the violence carried out by ISIS mercenaries is rooted in global energy competition gone insane. The whole of media reports on ISIS since its inception after Iran, Iraq, and Syria agreed on a multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline deal in 2011 has been virtually absent of this essential fact, missing altogether the true cause of the Syrian/Middle East violence since that pipeline deal was agreed on. Hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children have perished, millions have become refugees, and a humanitarian crisis of overwhelming proportions has occurred while the vast majority of politicians and media omit the true causes.

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