Senior US senator calls for arming Syria rebels
WASHINGTON: A senior Republican US senator on Sunday called for arming Syria’s rebels through the Arab League and suggested the imposition of “no drive” and “no fly” zones against Syrian military forces targeting the opposition.
Senator Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican voice on international policy, also said he was joining with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal to push a Senate resolution calling on the United Nations to declare Syrian President Bashar Assad a war criminal.
Both senators are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
|And then we can do some nation-building! Right guys?|
“We need more international pressure,” Graham told the program “Fox News Sunday.” “We need to help the rebels militarily, economically, and let Assad know that he is an international outlaw and be held accountable.”
“I think the Arab League would be a good vehicle to provide military assistance to the opposition forces and we should consider that. We should consider (a) ‘no drive, no fly’ zone, too, pretty quickly,” Graham added.
Graham suggested that the international community should use a similar approach to support Syria’s opposition as was used by NATO in buttressing the rebels who eventually toppled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi last year.
“I think the Libyan model could serve us well,” Graham said, although he did not lay out specifics for a US role.
Blumenthal, speaking on the same program, also pointed to last year’s Libya intervention as how to deal with Syria.
|Nor will he. He's rolled this verbal political grenade into Champ's tent, now he's going to watch what happens.|
Referring to the US Congress, Blumenthal said, “There is very strong support for the kinds of initiatives that we saw in Libya. And Libya is a model for how we can aid rebels.”
“But let me emphasize ... no American troops — none. No American troops on the ground, in direct aid, that will bolster that opposition,” Blumenthal added.
Posted by: Steve White