Tags: Syria | bob corker | syria | crisis | inactivity | 2013

Today's Syrian Crisis Result of US Not Acting in '13, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Charges

Image: Today's Syrian Crisis Result of US Not Acting in '13, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Charges
Sen. Bob Corker (Getty Images) 

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Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 04:08 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Obama administration's decision to back down from a planned airstrike against Syria in September of 2013 set the stage for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to remain in power and Russia to play an enhanced role in the Middle East, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker charged on Wednesday morning.

"When we did not get Assad in September of '13, we said to the world 'we cannot be counted on,'" the Tennessee Republican said at a press breakfast in Washington, D.C. hosted by the "Christian Science Monitor."

"We weren't going to take a ten-hour operation in the Mediterranean and we weren't going to take any steps to counter [Assad]."

Recalling how the White House turned back from a proposed airstrike after Assad agreed to destroy his chemical weapons, Corker said "So who propped up Assad more than anyone? We did. Because in order to get the chemical weapons out of the country, he had to be there. So we began by propping up Assad and making these hollow comments that 'he's got to go.'"

Turning to today, the Foreign Relations Committee head noted that Europe is now open to Assad remaining in power because "they look at it as a better way to continue than chaos. And they know Russia's going to do what it has to do."

Recalling his recent meeting with his European counterparts at the Munich (Germany) Security Conference, the Tennessean said on their part, "there is a tremendous lack of confidence in and concern [about the U.S.]. There are economic issues and refugee issues and Russia is eating their lunch. That's why there is the push for Montenegro [joining] NATO. Things are falling apart."

Regarding Russia's current role in Syria, Corker said: "You look at [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the hand he's had to play. He's had no hand to play. Their economy is in shambles. [But] he's effectively pressuring Europe in ways one would have never imagined."

In underscoring his view that the present Syrian situation and the Russian position can be traced back to U.S. inaction in 2013, Corker remarked: "it's sad for me to say that Putin has played the cards he had in a masterful way and took advantage of a nation right now that is not willing to lead. He knows it and Europe knows it and so, yes, I think they are becoming far more okay with [Assad] staying in power."

As for the next step in Syria, he said "Russia is open to an election process. They might encourage Assad not to run. At least that's what they say."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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The Obama administration's decision to back down from a planned airstrike against Syria in September of 2013 set the stage for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to remain in power and Russia to play an enhanced role in the Middle East, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Corker charged...
bob corker, syria, crisis, inactivity, 2013
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2016-08-25
Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 04:08 PM
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