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POLITICS: PennAve

Sen. Lindsey Graham rips Obama on Syria

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday said President Obama’s decision to provide small arms and ammunition to the Syrian anti-government rebels wouldn’t curtail a civil war that has killed more than 90,000 people.

“I really don’t know,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked to describe Obama’s goal in Syria. “It seems to be not being Bush is our foreign policy. The goal should be to basically make sure [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad leaves.”

He added that the immediate objective should be to “balance the military power — and providing small arms won’t do it.”

“We need to create a no-fly zone to neutralize Assad’s air power,” he insisted.

Administration officials told The Washington Examiner that the U.S. would send light arms and ammunition in coming weeks to anti-government forces in Syria. Yet, White House officials still won’t say which supplies are being sent to Syrian rebels or how they would get there.

And the administration seems wary of establishing a no-fly zone in Syria, as it did in Libya, saying such a tactic isn’t a “silver bullet” for stopping the violence there.

For months, Obama has toiled over a decision to play a more direct role in the Syrian civil war. His senior aides remain split, even on whether providing small arms was the right call.

However, Graham said that without a heightened response, the U.S. risks chemical weapons falling into the hands of extremist groups in Syria.

“It’s a powder keg for the region,” Graham said. “Our policy is not working. And AK-47s will not neutralize the advantage Assad has over the rebels. We need to do more.”

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner