Foreign Relations chair moves bill to arm Syrian rebels
May 6th, 2013
05:25 PM ET

Foreign Relations chair moves bill to arm Syrian rebels

By CNN's Kevin Liptak

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee offered legislation Monday that would allow the United States to provide lethal weapons to the Syrian opposition, a step President Barack Obama has yet to publically endorse.

Sen. Robert Menendez's bill would allow U.S.-provided arms, military training and supplies to go to groups that have been vetted and cleared, and establish a $250 million fund to help support a political transition in Syria, where a civil war has been waged for over 2 years.

The bill comes amid reports that chemical weapons have been used in the country. The White House notified lawmakers in April that the United States had established, with "varying degrees of confidence," that a sarin gas attack had taken place in Syria. But over the weekend a U.N. official said evidence points to the use of the deadly nerve agent by Syrian rebel forces, not the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. A spokesman for the Rebel Free Syrian Army disputed those claims.

Menendez, along with a group of other lawmakers, has pushed for greater U.S. involvement in Syria since before the reports of chemical weapons emerged.

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. StanCalif

    Okay Menendez, how do you properly vet Syrian rebel groups? What you suggest is virtually impossible! We tried to get the rebels fo form some sort of united effort with someone in charge, that failed. This conflict is no organized civil war. This is hatred run amoke! No one is loyal to anyone nor any ultimate goal. Just kill or be killed!
    In Afghanistan, we train and arm locals to "serve their own country". When armed, the weapons are turned on OUR troops! Did we properly vet the Afghans that we train and arm? Impossble to do. Now you propose vetting Syrian rebels? You are not very bright!

    May 7, 2013 at 6:33 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @StanCalif,couldn't have been worse than Reagan giving power to Rumsfield back in '83 as envoy to give serin gas to Kadafi,Hussein for genecidal purposes on their own people..Or asking Dem Charlie Wilson to go to Afghanistan to sell weapons to the rebels against Russia.Or better yet using our CIA people as couriers to deliver arms to Irans people and after crashing their plane they talked exposing the Iran Contra deal and Reagans involvement and still nothing done by republicans in either houses in majority..What about Bushs lies that led America to war just to make him and Cheneys Halliburton wealthy with no bid contracts and costing thousands of lives militarily,Iraqi civilians as well ,remember that Stan...This witch hunt against Pres.Obama,Hillary by that crook Issa is going to backfire on republicans that are purely out to discredit Hillary because you and others know if she would run in 2016 republicans have no chance even remotely of winning ,that's fact..But you see by my facts which you can look up anywhere that its republicans who have the job of cleaning up their partys dirty past and before they do they should learn to quit being so sanctumonious because people as myself are getting tired of their hypocrital crap that's costing us Americans money when its money that's in such a demand these days..Issa is great at spending it as well and getting nothing for it,just check Fast,Furious and how they failed at getting to Eric Holder remember that too costing us millions and again empty handed!!!

      May 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  2. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    May 7, 2013 at 1:54 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @john Smith,try posting other than that insane dribble that's been your only rant since day one..Change or disappear,enough said rag head!!

      May 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  3. Pete

    Menendez or whoever better make sure Syrian rebels aren't using serin gas either or all bets are off ...Another one of Reagans unheralded deals while president in the 80s being Reagan,America the blackmarket center for countries like Libya and Iraq during their struggles to gain power at any cost even genecide..Now its coming back to haunt us in gas that was stolen and now being used on Assads military as well as innocents because this gas doesn't discriminate and it kills with equal effectiveness and it'll kill these rebels if they handle it wrong as well,there's no directions on these bombs or canisters so they better know what they're doing that's all I've got to say..Again no arms to Syria if they have any gas period, no matter what type it is!!

    May 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Reply
    • Jomama

      No arms totally agree.About Reagan and gas, Im going to look around on that one got me curious.

      May 7, 2013 at 5:52 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @jomama,it was done by Special Envoy to the Middle East Donald Rumsfield in 2003 under Reagans guidence...

        May 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Marine5484

      Well put, Pete. This bill is sheer stupidity at it's worst! That money could be put to far better use by building more schools here in America and hiring more teachers, for example! No wonder we can't balance the national budget.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @Marine5484,this is just more political nonsense coming back to haunt us...@Jomama ,Pres.Reagan not only sold serin gas to Kadafi, Hussein for acts of genecide on their own people but was guilty in the Iran Contra deal by his own CIA couriers talking after being caught after their plane crashed and was never impeached because both houses at that time were republican led and he with alzheimers,dementia said he didn't remember..If Reagan was impeached after Nixon being disgraced with the Watergate scandal you'd had no more republicans ever running for the presidency again and that's facts republicans are scared to remember as well!!

        May 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jomama

      Hey Pete looked into that your right that is something I never knew.

      May 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
      • Pete

        @jomama,no prob bud,just wanne help!!

        May 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm |

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