1. Dr. Stein has proposed freezing the accounts of Saudi officials — which Saudi accounts would she target as president?
We would freeze the bank accounts of the Saudi government until they freeze the funding for terrorist groups that is coming from their country.
2. Congress just recently passed a bill that would allow the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia in a U.S. court. President Obama is likely to veto the measure. Where does Dr. Stein stand on this?
I would sign the bill to allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. It would be a positive step forward not only for the families of 9/11 victims, but also for international law to allow victims of criminal violence to hold the perpetrators accountable regardless of international borders.
3. Dr. Stein recently called for a new investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks. As president, how would she pursue that effort? What does she expect to do differently and discover?
The co-chairs of the original 9/11 Commission published a book released just two years after their own final report, concluding “We were set up to fail.” That is why we would create a truly independent 9/11 Commission.
We don’t know what we would discover, but would ask the independent commission to investigate the ties with Saudi intelligence as revealed in the recently declassified 28 pages of the 2002 Congressional report.
4. Various human rights organizations have accused the Syrian government of using incendiary weapons and cluster bombs, and the United Nations has reported on the use of chlorine bombs in the war-torn country. Considering Russia’s support for the Bashar Assad government, would these human rights violations at all complicate Dr. Stein’s calls for principled collaboration in the region?
The situation in Syria is complicated and disastrous, with an all out civil war in Syria, and a proxy war among many powers seeking influence in the region. US pursuit of regime change in Libya and Iraq created the chaos that promotes power grabs by extremist militias. Many of the weapons we are sending into Syria to arm anti-government militias end up in the hands of ISIS. In Syria it’s extremely difficult to sort out this complicated web of resistance fighters, religious extremists and warlords with backing from regional and world powers.
The one thing that is clear is that US meddling in the Middle East is throwing fuel on the fire.
I call for principled collaboration in bringing a weapons embargo to the region, freezing the bank accounts of countries that continue to fund terrorist groups, promoting a ceasefire, and supporting inclusive peace talks. The region is extremely complicated.
The best thing we can do for Syria, the Middle East and the world is to de-escalate this conflict, and involve as many of the players as we can in that de-escalation.
5. The U.S. has several military bases across the Mideast, and thousands of troops stationed in the region. The United States also engages in counterterrorism efforts with host countries across theregion, and sponsors troop and police training programs in countries like Jordan and Bahrain, just to name a couple. Would Dr. Stein, as president, close these bases and end these programs?
Yes. The project of US military and economic domination of the Middle East has been a disaster, and we need to send a clear signal that our foreign policy is shifting to one based on diplomacy, international law and human rights. Bahrain is one of many examples of US support for repressive regimes in the Middle East.
6. Reports indicate that the United States is about to reach a military aid deal with the Israeli government worth at least $38 billion — what is Dr. Stein’s position on this, and as president would she honor this agreement or work to overturn it?
We would put our allies on notice that we will not continue to provide funding or weapons to countries that are flagrantly and systematically violating international law and human rights. This applies not only to Israel, but also to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and others.
The United States government has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace and human rights within Palestine and Israel, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights.
7. As president, Dr. Stein would inherit the Iran nuclear agreement from her predecessor. How would she handle enforcement of the nuclear deal? Would she seek better ties with the Iranian government, or work to further isolate the government in Tehran? How do the doctor’s views on the Islamic Republic differ from those of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton?
We support the Iran nuclear agreement as a step towards nuclear disarmament. We would seek better ties with the Iranian government, and take advantage of the moderate Rouhani administration’s openness to greater diplomatic engagement. By engaging the Rouhani administration, we seek to re-reduce the influence of Iran’s right-wing hardliners, and improve the prospects for human rights in Iran. We have no desire to “obliterate” Iran (as called for by Secretary Clinton), nor would we engage in belligerent rhetoric towards Iran, as Mr. Trump has done.
8. The civil war in Syria has displaced millions. How would the Stein administration handle the Syrian refugee crisis?
We would stop creating more Syrian refugees by ending the airstrikes and working intensively to establish and maintain a cease fire. We would send humanitarian aid to Syria, and welcome Syrian families fleeing the civil war as refugees. This is the ethical and moral thing to do, and would signal a paradigm shift in our engagement with the Arab world.