Rubio advocates for arming Syrian opposition
February 27th, 2013
05:58 PM ET

Rubio advocates for arming Syrian opposition

By Elise Labott

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, proposed the U.S. provide ammunition to the Syrian opposition Wednesday, warning that the rebels feel "abandoned" by the West.

"I think it behooves us to do everything we can to ensure that the strongest elements in Syria post-Assad are those that are listening to us, can be influenced by us and have a desire not just to keep the Syrian nation together but to respect the rights of the diverse country that Syria is," he said, told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Rubio said that while there are "plenty of weapons in Syria, what the opposition really needs is access to ammunition. And I think one of the things we can consider, if we can identify a couple of responsible groups, or more responsible groups, that we feel have built capacity, ammunition is something we can provide, which is not weaponry, per se, but is essential to the weaponry."

"I think that's a step that I'm prepared to advocate for, the provision of ammunition to resistance groups within Syria that we think we can build a long-term dialogue with," added Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who just returned from the Middle East.

Rubio, who is frequently mentioned as a possible contender for Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said the Syrian opposition felt the West in general, "and the US in particular has abandoned them."

U.S. weighing military equipment for Syrian rebels

The opposition, he said, is in favor of democracy and freedom "so they rise up to exercise that, they take out a really bad person in Assad and basically fight for the principles that we say our nation's founded on and we do nothing, we abandon them. That's the sense they have."

His comments come amid reports the Obama administration is considering giving non-lethal military aid to the opposition, including equipment like body armor and armored vehicles. He said once Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls, the most well-armed and organized factions will be anti-American extremists.

"The goal is this," Rubio said. "We should want the best-organized, best-equipped and most dominant groups in the opposition to be groups that are friendlier to our national interests than some of the other elements that are involved."

He also noted the fall of Assad would be a crippling blow to Iran, calling it the "ultimate sanction" again Tehran.

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. maryam

    Rubio has been hand-picked by Chief racist/zionist israeli-firster, joseph i. lieberman before he left. any sentient person knows exactly the legacy lieberman left and rubio is chosen to succeed. rubio, as lieberman cares NOT for the USA and will follow lieberman's destructive lead.

    The last i heard of lieberman he hadput himself in charge of the sandy hook donations. of course that is exactly what he said he would do when he left congress: "to make money." obviously he has absolutely NO worries about money but his ilk prefer "other people's money." that's why people like rubio are able to continue... they are fully funded by the same racist/zionist/israeli-firsters. while the US is falling apart and morally wanting, they succeed.

    March 2, 2013 at 9:33 am | Reply
  2. StanCalif

    Just another GOP hopeful supported by the NRA! Give everyone guns and ammo. no restrictions! Shoot first, ask questions later! Rubio's own state is infested with Mexican drug lords, so are other states. Rubio's solution, give them ammo! Shoot out your problems! Who wins? The NRA!

    March 2, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
  3. 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.

    March 1, 2013 at 12:10 am | Reply
  4. StanCalif

    Rubio also wants to keep his state's drug lords armed also!

    February 28, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  5. Andrey

    It is sad to see how Americans are set up to choose only between enema and a turdsandwich! Best Democracy ever: right!

    February 28, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
  6. michaelfury

    Why not use this $100 million to buy their ammo?

    February 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
  7. andrew

    why can't we not get involved in this because we are making a allie if we go with the rebles and are eneemy would be Assad and he has WMDS and if we side with assad the rebles will be our enemy so why do we have to get in to this,why not just sit on the side line and see who wins

    February 28, 2013 at 7:50 am | Reply
  8. norma jean

    Has this man been around long enough and gained enough information to be telling the White House how to run relations with a foreign country???? I think not!!!... Like so many in that party .....they think they know everything and are always trying to prove it~~~ Step down junior!!!!!!

    February 28, 2013 at 1:05 am | Reply
    • 1371usmc

      And Mr.Obama has been doing such a great job?

      February 28, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
  9. R Blake

    Rubio is ignoring history. Reagan armed the Afgan resistance to the Russians in the 1980s. That resistance quickly turned on the US, eventuating in the Taliban, Al Quida and other terrorist organizations. We know how that worked out. The reality is that the Syrian resistance, while very fragmented, is primarily composed of radical muslims who have no love for the US. We give them weapons now, and if they win, those weapons will be used to kill Americans very quickly. if they lose, those weapons will still be turned against us.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  10. John

    Does all Republican want to get America In every war that come along. Want happen If the weapon we give them come back and use on us. The dumbest thing American could do Is arm these people. American should just stay out of It all together. American Is not the world Police, let china or Russia arm them.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • massoud

      Obama used Executive power and in doing so violated the War Powers Act by bombing Libya into smithereens and last time I checked Obama was a Democrat so to answer your question no not all Republican want to get us into war Democrats are culpable as well in getting us into wars.I am a Libertarian and believe that we are over involved in global conflicts and that policing the world is foolish .

      February 28, 2013 at 12:31 am | Reply
      • My name is Rubio and I am a fat head

        "Obama violated the War Powers Act" Ipso facto, why did the party who hate him so much (McConnell and Boehner, to name a few), not impeached him? You maybe a libertarian but you quack like a tea-bager who get's it info from Faux news! 😦

        February 28, 2013 at 5:33 am |
    • massoud

      @ Libtard with the smiley face, I bet you know a thing or two about Teabagging

      February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Thank you, John. I fully agree.

      February 28, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply
  11. cbr

    Arming rebels has not worked out well for us. What does Rubio know about the rebels and their leaders? Do they have the backing of the people and are they strong enough to take over the country.

    Do you remember the comments about leaders in Iran, Egypt, etc. Whee is Mubarek now? Is the Iranian leader someone we can now trust? How about Afghanistan? We backed someone who never did get elected. We need to move slowly. Mr. Rubio is trying to make a name for himself and trying to show us he has foreign policy experience and ideas so we will consider him the Republican frontrunner for the 2016 presidential election. This is just too political and too sensitive. Many questions need to be answered. Sen.Graham and Sen. McCain have not sided with Mr. Rubio!

    February 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  12. Tom

    And what happens if some of that ammunition winds up being used in an attack on Americans? Oh, right. Then it's Obama's fault.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  13. helenecha

    Well, the more the callings for arming Syrian opposition behove us to see, the more the US Senators we know.

    February 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  14. John Geheran

    although I don't like to waste money, but as long as we are supporting muslims are killing muslims, I am for it. Now I see the our government's game, it's like killing so many bad birds with one stone.

    February 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Sorry folks, I didn't post that idiotic statement above. Some Tea Partying dimwit is trolling me again, trying to make me look as dumb as he is!

      February 28, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
  15. George Patton-2

    me too!! I am for arming all muslim countries where governments are killing rebels and rebels are killing government armies. There is no room for left wing, right wing, no wing tea partiers in muslim countries.

    February 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  16. Jules

    Al Quida, too? Oh that's right – the rebels all look alike so we don't know which ones are Al Quida. Good idea, Rubio.

    February 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  17. John Geheran

    What would one expect from this jerk Rubio anyway? He's just another self serving, money grubbing right-wing fanatic out to promote his political standing in the polls! Why the devil should we spend money we don't have in the first place on a bunch of right-wing, pro-Western thugs so that they can seize power!

    February 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Boss, arming Syrian rebels are good thing.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • John Geheran

        Gee Phunnie boy, I didn't know that! You must want another U.S. satellite state in the middle East awfully bad, but I do not!

        February 28, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  18. geggyg

    I hope Rubios plan is more successful than Pres Reagons efforts at arning and funding the freedom fighters in Afghanistan to fight against the Russians , This is what Reagon hoped that by arming them , the US would have influence with them. How did that work out with the Taliban and their splinter group Al Queda and their relations with the US, not that good . Oh I forgot republicans dont think or remember anything bad happened before the 2008 Presidential elections ( Pres Reagon , GHW Bush, Carter , Clinton and GW Bush werent able to stop Irans and Nth Koreas nuclear program , but most repubs think Obama should have ben able to do it early in first term)

    February 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  19. tony

    Thank goodness this is the part of the Taliban on our side. And they've PROMISED that any hand held surface to air missiles or anti-tank rockets won't ever be used to down our US Jetliners as they are landing or taking off. Absolutely not. 🙂

    February 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Can Sen Rubio assure us that the group he wants to receive American military weapons isn't an Al Qaida affiliate or extreme Islamist group who want to harm the USA or Israel?

    February 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  21. lance

    how about arming the american border and keeping illegals out, good use of american tax dollars instead of wasting cash on the middle east.

    February 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  22. Pander Bear

    Why not send the NRA over there? They seem to want to arm everyone.

    February 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • massoud

      Obamas administration sent 2000 high powered guns to arm the Mexican drug Cartels during operation fast and furious, and as of today the White House announced it was giving the Syrian Rebels or Terrorists as I like to call them $ 60 Million Dollars of aid.

      February 28, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
  23. My name is Rubio and I am a fat head

    Rubio and his blind ambition is more concern with self promotion and it is evident in his insane reasoning. America's top dogs know that after the rebels overthrow the established government with our gift of weapons, those very same weapons will be turned on and against us.

    February 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  24. Pete

    Why don't Rubio and his cheerleader wife go suit up and help Syria themselves..Maybe she could do a little half time dance for all those Syrian rebels fighting Assad,a real moral picker upper is really needed there !!

    February 27, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.