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Tags: Foster Friess | ISIS | Kurds | Rand Paul

US Christian Millionaire Joins the Fight Against ISIS

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:19 PM EST

He's at least a half-billionaire, a committed Christian and, for the Islamic State (ISIS), Foster Friess may be their worst nightmare.

Friess, a Republican mega-donor, has been waging a quiet one-man private war against ISIS, which is launching murderous onslaughts on the Kurds in Iraq, by funding Peshmerga Kurdish fighters.

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Friess also is putting his mouth where his money is, lobbying hard in Congress to get the U.S. to provide substantial and direct military arms and aide to help the Kurds defeat ISIS.

In a recent email to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has opposed further U.S. military involvement, Friess wrote: "Rand, I respect your reluctance to put Americans in harm's way by providing doctors, nurses, and mechanics to fix busted axles, technicians to deactivate booby traps, anti-tank weapons and personnel to protect them. Anti-war liberals can support these measures. But I wish I could dissuade you," Friess wrote.

"Maybe you are influenced by those who believe, 'they are all crazies over there, so why not stay out and let them kill each other?' It is understandably confusing to sort the good guys from the bad guys.

"America's blocking aid to the Kurds embarrasses me — No, I am ashamed," Friess said, according to The Washington Examiner.

Copies of the email were sent to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Graham plans to propose legislation granting $500 million in aid to the Kurdish Regional Government, The Huffington Post reports. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Cal., introduced a bill last year calling for the U.S. to directly arm the Kurds, in place of the Obama administration's current policy of providing arms only through the Iraqi government.

During a recent visit to Camp Black Tiger, a Peshmerga military facility, Friess told the Daily Beast: "I was amazed to see how many of the fighters had come out of retirement and were in their 40s and 50s. I had tears in my eyes to see the Yazidis — to think they had to leave their homes and everything they owned and only had the clothes on their backs was indeed sad."

The Kurds, Friess told the Daily Beast, "are fighting our fight and we have treated them disgracefully in terms of the armaments we have provided."

Arming the Kurds, he said, would help "defeat a ghastly evil (ISIS) that is running amok."

The exact nature of Friess' assistance remains murky. While his close adviser, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Ernie Adino, told the Daily Beast that he and Friess have discussed privately providing both arms and troops to the Kurds, "no one's pulled the trigger on it," the Daily Beast reported. "There is no reason why this monopoly should be owned by the U.S. government. I think there's a role for private organizations to generate private support to help the Kurds."

However, Friess, who recently spent $50,000 for blankets for the Kurdish Yazidis, told the Daily Beast: "Do you realize the enormity of what it takes to defeat the enemy? I'm not in the business of financing private armies."

Instead, Friess is lobbying hard for deeper U.S. support in terms of heavy weapons and training.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, told the Daily Beast: "Foster Friess agrees with me on this issue. In order for there to be military success on the ground and defeat ISIS, the U.S. must provide the heavy weapons and arms directly to trusted fighters, such as the Kurds."

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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Foster Friess, a Republican mega-donor, has been waging a quiet one-man private war against ISIS by funding Peshmerga Kurdish fighters.
Foster Friess, ISIS, Kurds, Rand Paul
Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:19 PM
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