The opaque foreign policy of the Obama administration is emboldening Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Republican leaders alleged on Sunday. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stated that the Obama administration’s estimate about the Syrian use of chemical weapons “may not be airtight,” but said that American action in Syria could not be contingent on Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
“First of all, sooner or later, he most likely would [use chemical weapons] in order to maintain his hold on power,” said McCain. “But what has happened here is the President drew a red line about chemical weapons, thereby giving a green light to Bashar al-Assad to do anything short of that including scud missiles and helicopter gun ships and air strikes and mass executions and atrocities that are on a scale that we have not seen in a long, long time.”
Meanwhile, on ABC News’ This Week, chair of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said that intelligence was conclusive regarding the Syrian use of chemical weapons. “There is also classified information that we have that strengthens the case that, in fact, some small amounts of chemical weapons have been used over the course of the last two years.” He said that Obama’s “red-line” approach “can’t be a dotted line.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, said that if the Obama White House stands idly by, Syria will become a state “fracturing along sectarian ethnic lines. It’s going to be an al-Qaeda safe haven.” Chambliss worried about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and their distribution to terrorist groups elsewhere, as well as the fate of the kingdom of Jordan. He predicted that inaction on Syria would lead to “war with Iran because Iran is going to take our inaction on Syria as meaning we’re not serious about their nuclear weapons program.”