Elisa Massimino on The Diane Rehm Show
By Jess Ballance
Today, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino was a guest on The Diane Rehm Show, discussing the crisis in Syria. Massimino stressed that the crisis is both a moral imperative and a national security issue and called on the U.S. government to change the calculus on the ground by increasing non-military modes of intervention. She also urged the United States to lead by example by taking in more Syrian refugees, which would require the government to lift the ostensible anti-terrorism measures that make it difficult to resettle people fleeing war zones.
As Massimino noted, the mass atrocities committed by the Assad regime are organized crimes that rely on supply chains that the U.S. government can target. Last year, the Department of Defense confronted this supply chain when it canceled the United States’ helicopter contract with Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms dealer that continues to supply the weapons used the regime against civilians. In addition, Massimino called on the United States to target the Russian banks serving as a front for the Central Bank of Syria.
For more information on the Syria refugee crisis, see Human Rights First’s report, Refuge at Risk: The Syria Crisis and U.S. Leadership. To learn more about the Rosoboronexport contract, see Human Rights First’s blueprint, How to Stop Doing Business with Russia's Arm Exporter.