March 28th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

McCain condemns Syria's government of "crimes against humanity"

As questions arise about whether Syria will follow through on its promise to accept the proposed peace plan, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a congressional resolution on Wednesday condemning the Syrian government "for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations. "

The Obama administration has struggled with how far it can go in accusing Syria's president Bashar al-Assad of war crimes, as Elise Labott reported last week.

U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, have called for "foreign airpower" to stop the government "slaughter" and save innocent lives. They also called for establishing safe havens that could serve as bases for military aid.

The resolution calls for:

(1) condemns the mass atrocities and severe human rights abuses being perpetrated against the people of Syria by Bashar al-Assad and his followers;

 (2) recognizes that the people of Syria have an inherent right to defend themselves against the campaign of violence being conducted by the Assad regime;

(3) supports calls by Arab leaders to provide the people of Syria with the means to defend themselves against Bashar al-Assad and his forces, including through the provision of weapons and other material support, and calls on the President to work closely with regional partners to implement these efforts effectively;

(4) urges the President to take all necessary precautions to ensure that any support for the Syrian opposition does not benefit individuals in Syria who are aligned with al Qaeda or associated movements, or who have committed human rights abuses;

 (5) affirms that the establishment of safe havens for people from Syria, as contemplated by governments in the Middle East, would be an important step to save Syrian lives and to help bring an end to Mr. Assad’s killing of civilians in Syria, and calls on the President to consult urgently and thoroughly with regional allies on whether, how, and where to create such safe havens;

(6) urges the President, as part of an international effort to hold senior officials in Syria accountable for mass atrocities, to:

a)  gather information about such mass atrocities, including gross human rights violations, use of force against civilians, torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, sexual violence, and interference with access to medical treatment;

b)  continue to take actions to ensure that senior officials in the Government of Syria and other individuals responsible for mass atrocities in Syria are held accountable, including by using the authority provided under Executive Order 13572 and Executive Order 13573 to designate additional individuals;

 (7) urges the Atrocities Prevention Board, once it is formally constituted by the President as called for in Presidential Study Directive-10, to provide recommendations concerning measures to prevent continued mass atrocities in Syria; and

 (8) commends the establishment of the “Friends of the Syrian People” Contact Group and  other international diplomatic efforts to end the violence and support a peaceful transition to democracy in Syria, and reaffirms the necessity of the departure from power of Bashar al-Assad.

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Filed under: Assad • Congress • McCain • Middle East • Syria • United Nations
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sylvia

    Adonis you are so far off base, you're not even really in the game. Yes, the Golan Heights were teucprad in the Six Day War in 1967, after years of shelling of the Galil by the Syrians, and only a few days into the war did Israel respond to Syria's one-sided war in defense of the farmers who could not safely till their fields. Ergo the Golan Heights were teucprad in a defensive war. Regarding peace if Syria ever has a peaceful, long-lasting, relationship with another neighboring country, Israel should then maybe reconsider negotiating on its own terms.Kennedy Carter's access to data and his traveling experience do not lead to the conclusion that he has any grasp on international relations. He continues to make a fool of himself with his misguided, nay harmful, quixotic ventures around the world. He is wrong, time and again, so regardless of his experience and access to data, I posit he has no relevant grasp on international relations whatsoever.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  2. the wise

    Stop supporing zionist aggression.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  3. commercial pressure cleaning

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    March 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Nilam

      All true. My dad has been deployed to France and brheotr to South Korea. My dads unit is air national guard refueling unit. They are ready. The USA drills 24/7 Military in KuwAit, Georgia, Israel. France. Don't forget about all national guards of every branch in every state and puerto Rico. Also talk of draft. It's on, just sayin.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  4. Pablo Schwartz

    Why does John McCain hate Syrian Christians? The so-called "Free Syria Army" is rotten with Wahhabi mercenaries from outside Syria and have been targeting Christian houses of worship. A taste of things to come if they manage to overthrow Assad's *secular* dictatorship ..

    March 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  5. the wise

    Stop listening to zionist fear mongering.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  6. Todson White

    I disagee with Mccain's views on fighting wars almost always, but I think he's right on this one. Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the murder of over 10,000 innocent men, women and children in his own country. How many more must die while we stand by and do nothing to stop the atrocities that are being commited every single day. America is better than that. We must do everything within our power to end this slaughter. The mass murderer al-Assad must be arrested and put on trial for his crimes against humanity.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Amen my fellow American, Barack Obama sacrificed the lives of 10,000 plus men, women and children to stay on Russia's good side. He should be tried right beside Al-assad for being a party to and a co-conspirator to the murder of over 10,000 innocent men ,women and children of Syria!

      March 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply

    in as much as we keep talking, the killing continues.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply

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