The United States has waited too long to arm Syrian rebels, retired Lt. Col. Oliver North tells Newsmax TV, and the United States now risks creating another al-Qaida.
"What I see is a total breakdown of credibility in the part of this administration," North said. President Barack Obama had long said that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons it would cross a "red line," spurring U.S. intervention. The regime admitted sarin gas had been used on Syrians earlier this month, while the U.S. promised to provide small arms to the rebel forces.
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Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., have pushed Obama to authorize a no-fly zone as well. But North joins many who say the United States has waited so long to help that the disjointed rebel groups have been infiltrated by radical Islamists.
"Now, if you want a repeat of the creation of al-Qaida, this is the formula to do it," North said. "And I don’t see how this administration can save this situation. The Assad regime backed up now by the Iranians, by Hezbollah, and by the Russians is more than likely going to survive this experience and come out even more difficult at the back end of it than it already was before."
On the issue of Iran, North doesn't see new president Hassan Rouhani as the moderate cleric others make him out to be.
"Anybody who thinks Rouhani's a moderate or a reasonable person has missed what this guy did consistently as their top nuclear negotiator, which was lie, obfuscate, delay and deceive," North tells Newsmax. "Ultimately, he's not the person who decides any more than Ahmadinejad was."
The real decision is made by the Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the country's leading ayatollah, who isn't about to give up nuclear weapons, North said.
"He knows it gives them an edge, it prevents anybody else from interfering in their country because he's now got a nuclear weapon he can use, and it's ultimately the undoing of a national security strategy in that part of the world that we've been working on for 50 years."
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