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Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham slammed the U.S.-Russia agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons on Saturday, calling it “meaningless” while also saying that the U.S. should be sending more weapons to Syrian rebels.
This comes soon after it was yet again reported that the U.S. is sending weapons, vehicles and other critical equipment to opposition fighters in Syria.
While McCain and Graham think the agreement gives Syrian President Bashar al-Assad too much leeway, President Barack Obama himself said that the military option will be taken if diplomatic efforts fail.
In their joint statement issued Saturday, McCain and Graham draw some quite interesting conclusions from the U.S.-Russian agreement, including the claim that it sends the wrong signal to Iran.
“What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement: They see it as an act of provocative weakness on America’s part,” they said, according to the Associated Press. “We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon.”
In reality, even former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted Iran was not developing a nuclear weapon in January 2012. Similarly, U.S. intelligence agencies said in 2012 that there was no evidence to support the claims about an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Even the Israeli military chief confirmed that Iran had not decided to build a nuclear weapon in 2012.
McCain and Graham also reiterated their contention that the U.S. should give arms to opposition forces.
In May, McCain reportedly entered Syria without permission to meet with rebels and in the past Graham has called for an American invasion of Syria if necessary to secure chemical weapons.
“The only way this underlying conflict can be brought to a decent end is by significantly increasing our support to moderate opposition forces in Syria,” Saturday’s statement from the senators said. “We must strengthen their ability to degrade Assad’s military advantage, change the momentum on the battlefield, and thereby create real conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict.”
Perhaps the oddest part of the statement is the mention of Saddam Hussein, the deceased former leader of Iraq who in 2003 still possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, according to the U.S. and UK.
A 2008 Senate Intelligence Committee report determined that the Bush administration was guilty of “misrepresent[ing] the intelligence and the threat from Iraq” on numerous occasions.
Why McCain and Graham would try to bring Hussein into the mix is unclear.
“Without a U.N. Security Council Resolution under Chapter 7 authority, which threatens the use of force for non-compliance by the Assad regime, this framework agreement is meaningless,” the senators said in the statement. “Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein’s playbook.”
“It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” they said.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.