Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said President Barack Obama should be actively differentiating between rebels who are Al Qaeda and non-Al Qaeda instead of launching a symbolic strike against Bashar al-Assad that expresses “some moral outrage from a university faculty lounge.”
According to Cruz, appearing on Fox News’ Hannity Monday, Obama has not established a compelling national security rationale for a potential strike:
The only justifiable reason for U.S. military forces to be engaged–for U.S. military might to be engaged–is to protect our national security. And sadly, that has been the missing variable from this administration’s approach from the beginning, as they allowed Assad to slaughter over 100,000 of his people.
Host Sean Hannity asked Cruz who is going to replace Assad if the U.S. goes beyond mere symbolic strikes and removes him: “Isn’t it… likely that if Assad is cast aside… Islamist jihadists with Al Qaeda ties will take over?”
Of nine major rebel groups, seven of them may well have some significant ties to Al Qaeda. And if Assad is toppled and replaced by a radical Islamist regime, what would be truly dangerous for the United States–for our allies like Israel and Jordan–is for a radical Islamist government to seize control of [the] chemical weapons and to deploy them, against us or our allies.
That should be the focus of the president, [but] as we’ve seen throughout the Middle East that has not been [his] focus.
Cruz then cited Obama’s support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and said, “What a sad state when the United States is ‘arm-in-arm’ with oppressive Islamist governments.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.