Sen. Graham: US Must 'Break Up' Syrian-Iranian Alliance

Thursday, 16 Feb 2012 05:06 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. Lindsey Graham says it is in America’s national security interest to break up the Syrian-Iranian alliance and to replace Syria’s President Bashar Assad, because the two countries pose a serious threat not only to the United States but to the world. The South Carolina Republican also told CNN Wednesday that America should press Russia and the Chinese to condemn Syria, as the two nations are “on the wrong side of history.”
 
“Our strategic interests in Syria are much greater than they were in Libya — this regime is the biggest [ally] of Iran, which threatens the world even more so than the Assad regime,” Graham told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “It’s in our national security interest, Erin — without a doubt — to replace Assad and to break up this Syrian-Iranian alliance. And we should be spending more time talking about this.

“We should press the Russians and the Chinese, bring a resolution this week, expose them for siding on the wrong side of history, and do parallel agreements with the Arab League to try to help these people in the humanitarian way and maybe providing arms,” said Graham, who is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We need a dual track.”

As to whether the United States should arm the Syrian rebels, Graham noted the Russians are providing weapons to the Assad regime, so “we might as well be arming the opposition.”

“I guess what I want to know, I believe the idea of arming these groups is something which we consider. But I would like to push them to have a game plan — if we do arm you, what would happen when Assad falls?” Graham asked. “Are you going to be inclusive? Is it going to be a purge of the [opposition] Alawite community when that probably doesn't help us?

“So, Russia, I think, is on the wrong side of history. What’s odd is that Russia is taking a position that I think is more about their own fate in Russia because, you know, the Russian government — Putin — is not really in great standing with his own people,” he said “I think he is exposing himself for sort of the thuggish guy he is. We need to push him quite frankly.”

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