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Giuliani: Obama 'Created' Syrian Dilemma by Not Acting Sooner on Assad

Image: Giuliani: Obama 'Created' Syrian Dilemma by Not Acting Sooner on Assad

By Todd Beamon   |   Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 11:28 PM

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Thursday that President Barack Obama “created this situation” in Syria by not acting sooner to stop President Bashar al-Assad’s regime from using chemical weapons against opposition forces.

“He’s gotten himself into a real pickle,” Giuliani told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “This is what happens when you leave a vacuum — and you have an America that doesn’t want to be aggressive, an America that doesn’t want to act. Somebody else fills the vacuum.”

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Earlier Thursday, the Obama administration said that it now had definitive evidence that Assad’s forces had used the nerve gas sarin and other chemical weapons “multiple times in the last year,” according to Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser.

“We have a high degree of confidence in this information,” Rhodes said. “This is a high-confidence assessment.”

He added: “The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. This is a clearly evolving situation is Syria.”

Rhodes said that Obama was considering both political and military options, including supplying rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, but suggested that deeper involvement may not be imminent.

He estimated that as many as 150 people died during as many as four chemical attacks.

“He doesn’t have a good answer right now,” Giuliani told Hannity, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s criticism of Obama on Syria earlier Thursday. “But what is also true is that he put himself and our country in that position — and for that, he and [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton should be held to account.”

Giuliani said he favored arming the Supreme Military Council, the military wing of the primary civilian opposition group, and other rebel forces last year — but, now, Russia and al-Qaida are deeply involved in the civil war that has killed as many as 93,000 people.

“It seemed to me then we had a chance,” he told Hannity. “The rebel groups then were more legitimate rebel groups, groups who were really just reacting to the oppression and corruption of the Assad regime.

“We had a good chance of forming them, a good chance of controlling them,” the former mayor said. “I don’t know where this notion of leading from behind came from. Leading from behind is called ‘following.’”

Giuliani added, “Russia has moved into the vacuum and has become an Iran. Iran’s been there from the beginning, but Russia has now filled the vacuum — so now they’re supporting Assad.

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“On the other side, you have al-Qaida supporting the rebels — and we have nobody there that has anything but the worst intentions toward the United States of America.”

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