Share

POLITICS: PennAve

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Obama has 'mismanaged' Syrian crisis

By |
Barack Obama,Syria,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday accused President Obama of mishandling the Syrian conflict, saying the administration's foot dragging on a response has increased the risk of an al Qaeda takeover of the Middle East country and more violence in the region.

"This is about the most mismanaged situation I've ever seen since World War II when they were trying to control the Nazis," the South Carolina Republican told CNN's "New Day" program.

"This is bizarre. We're going, we're not going, we don't need Congress, yes, we do."

Graham, who long has supported U.S. military intervention in Syria, said the president must "up his game" in developing a convincing response to country's bloody two-year-old civil conflict.

The senator added that if Obama doesn't "engage and persuade the American people" regarding his plans, then next week's expected vote in Congress authorizing a military response in Syria will be "too close to call."

"And if we lost this vote, oh, my God, I can only imagine how it would make us look throughout the world," he said. "But if we have a weak response, where it's just check the block response, that's just as bad. So the president needs to up his game."

Along with strategic military attacks inside Syria, Graham said the United States' strategy must include more arms to Syria's rebels and "getting the regional players more involved, like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Arab States and, particularly Turkey, by marginalizing the al Qaeda members ... inside of Syria."

"To me, that is a strategy that might sell to Congress," he said.

Failure in Syria likely would result in an al-Qaeda-led toppling of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, putting the country's chemical weapons stash in the hands of terrorist groups intent on attacking Israel.

"If we get Syria wrong, if we show a weakness here regarding Assad's chemical weapons utilization, you're almost ensuring a war between Israel and Iran over their nuclear program and we would surely get drawn into that," he said.

"If we fail in Syria, if we fail to stand up for the right thing and to send the right messages, the whole region's going to go down in flames."

View article comments Leave a comment