All blogs filed under Syria

The President's Address on ISIL

Tonight, the President outlined a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. and a broad coalition to take action against ISIL, a vicious terrorist group that has brutally murdered Americans and threatens our national security interests. I believe it is prudent for the U.S. to take action now to eradicate ISIL.

This effort must be supported by a broad coalition of countries. I welcome the Administration’s efforts, including extensive work by Secretary of State John Kerry, over the past few days and weeks to build a coalition that is committed to fighting ISIL. The Administration will need to continue its work to ensure all coalition members step up to the fight. I have urged the Administration to prioritize efforts to dismantle ISIL’s financial networks. This will help dampen their recruiting efforts and their operational effectiveness over time. I welcome the President’s commitment to ensuring there is an interagency effort to hold accountable those individuals who do business with ISIL in violation of international sanctions.

I also support the President’s commitment to training and equipping the moderate, well vetted Syrian opposition. I have called on the Administration to take more robust measures to support the moderate opposition for several years. Any effort to assist these forces must be well coordinated with other members of the coalition and must include a thorough vetting effort.

Protecting Americans must be our top priority. I will continue to press the Administration to ensure they are working with coalition partners to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria. I will also continue to urge the Administration to ensure American personnel at our diplomatic and support facilities in the region have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and safely.

We should be proud of the American men and women, especially our servicemembers, who are already helping to degrade ISIL Degrading and defeating ISIL will take time and there will be risks, but I support the strategy laid out by the President tonight and will work with my colleagues to ensure the Administration has the necessary resources and authorization to implement it swiftly and effectively.

Tags:
Foreign Policy
Iraq
ISIL
ISIS
Syria
Terrorism

Developments in Syria

Last November, I called for a more assertive US approach to the conflict in Syria because it is in line with our national security interests and our humanitarian values.  Taking action now will certainly be more difficult than it was last year, but if the administration does decide to act in collaboration with our allies in Europe and the Middle East, it should act decisively to avoid further extending the conflict.  As part of any military response, the US should redouble its efforts to support the moderate opposition with training and equipment.  The US should also increase humanitarian support for Syrians inside the country as well as refugees in surrounding countries.  Addressing the crisis in Syria at this stage will be extremely difficult, but every day that Assad remains in power helps Iran and Hezbollah and threatens stability across the region.  Iran and terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah, are plotting against the United States and its allies every day.  I commend the Administration for confronting this difficult but critical challenge.  Assad has slaughtered more than 100,000 people and stoked sectarianism throughout the region.  He has crossed more than a red line and the United States must act in the interest of our national and global security.

Potential Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

I was disturbed to hear the reports of chemical weapons use in Syria. The UN inspection team on the ground should look into these new claims and determine if the regime has once again employed the use of these terrible weapons. This should also serve to refocus the attention of the US and international community.  Hundreds continue to be killed in Syria on a weekly basis. And once again, the Administration's red line appears to have been crossed. I continue to believe that the US should consider assertive ways to end the atrocities committed against the Syrian people. Our national security interests continue to be at stake - every day that Assad remains in power is a benefit to Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah.

Tags:
Chemical Weapons
Syria
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