Issue Position: Stand Against ISIS!

Issue Position

The chaos in Iraq and Syria over the last several years has allowed the terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, to become a threat of global proportions, with the capacity to inspire and carry out attacks here in the United States.

The December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, where the attackers were reportedly inspired by ISIS, demonstrate how quickly this threat has come to our shores. Meanwhile, overseas, ISIS has dealt untold suffering and cruelty to millions of innocents in Iraq and Syria, especially religious minorities. ISIS is now spreading its influence across the Middle East: in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Most worryingly, the attacks in Paris and the airliner bombing in November 2015 proved that ISIS has the ambitions and capabilities to execute large-scale attacks against the West and harm Americans here at home.

President Obama's proposals to fight ISIS, after his own disengagement from the Middle East allowed the group to rise in the first place, have been woefully insufficient. America cannot afford to let a transnational threat like ISIS survive, hold territory, and grow. Containment will not work.

Instead, the U.S. needs to take the lead on a strategy, in conjunction with our local allies, that will destroy ISIS and deprive it and other terror groups of safe havens. This will require a larger number of American troops on the ground, working with the Kurds, Sunni tribes, and other partners. If America does not make this our fight, the West will not win it.

The conflict is not just about ISIS, either: ISIS is only the most prominent manifestation of radical Islam, an ideology bent on destroying the West and eradicating its values. In this clash of civilizations, either we win, or they win.

As Senator, Marco has repeatedly highlighted the threat that ISIS presents and called for greater efforts to defeat it. As President, Marco will set out to destroy ISIS, not hope it disappears or collapses of its own volition. He will:
Confront ISIS in Iraq and Syria

That means establishing a coordinated political-military strategy against ISIS in tandem with Sunni Arab and local partners in the region.

On the military front, Marco will:

Build a multinational coalition of countries willing to send troops into Iraq and Syria with embedded U.S. forces and U.S. logistical and intelligence support to aid local fighters on the ground in destroying ISIS safe havens;
Expand airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, deploying forward air controllers to call in air support;
Develop a plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power, including ramping up training of Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and ISIS and to establish safe zones within Syria;
Provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces if Baghdad fails to support them.

On the political front:

Counter ISIS recruitment and propaganda by broadcasting U.S. victories, showing the world that ISIS is not invincible;
Work with Baghdad to increase Sunni inclusion and autonomy for the provinces;
Push back against Iranian influence in Iraq, which only stokes further conflict;
Coordinate with regional allies to plan for Assad's fall;
Advocate on behalf of and protect ethnic and religious minorities throughout the region.

Stop the Spread of ISIS Across the Middle East

Enhance military and diplomatic efforts to prevent ISIS from further entrenching itself in Afghanistan and Libya, as well as take action to ensure ISIS does not spread to countries such as Jordan;
Target ISIS's financial reserves with sanctions and asset freezes and continue to undermine ISIS's attempts to exploit oil resources;
Engage in global ideological pushback by exposing ISIS's war crimes and sex trafficking and recruiting disaffected former members to tell their stories.

Protect the Homeland

Work with regional partners to prevent foreign jihadists from traveling between their homes and the battlefields;
Strengthen U.S. intelligence capabilities to ensure that the U.S. government has the capabilities to track terrorists plotting attacks inside the United States;
Boost domestic efforts to detect potential "lone wolf" attackers;
Increase efforts to counter ISIS propaganda and recruitment of individuals inside the United States;
Halt new admissions of refugees from Iraq and Syria, until they can be vetted effectively enough to filter out terrorist infiltrators.
Enhance the security screening required of travelers coming to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program.