Senators Unveil Resolution on Syria

Mar 28, 2012 3:13pm

A small group of senators today unveiled a resolution on Syria that condemns the government of Syria and “supports the right of the people of Syria to defend themselves.”

“How many more people have to die,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asked as the U.N. reported Tuesday the death toll in Syria has climbed to more than 9,000 people. “How many have to die before the United States will take a leadership role in trying to end the mass slaughter that is taking place in Syria?”

The resolution supports calls by Arab leaders to provide the Syrian people with weapons and other material support and calls on President Obama to work closely with regional partners to “implement these efforts effectively.”

“We in the United States have both a moral and strategic reason to support their efforts by at least giving them the means with which to defend themselves,” Sen.  Joe Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut, said.  “Based on the disproportionate availability of weapons and the willingness of the Assad regime to use it against the Syrian people, Assad will go of natural causes before he is eliminated from office because of the massacres he has perpetrated on his own people.”

The resolution does not call for putting U.S. boots on the ground or air strikes against Syria. It does not endorse any kind of unilateral action by the United States. And it is not an authorization for the use of U.S. military troops.

But it does call on the Obama administration to take more of a leadership role in the situation.

McCain says the Obama administration is doing “nothing,” except saying that the departure of  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is inevitable.

“Not even speeches by the president or members of the administration condemning the violence and massacres taking place, even though that is a key national security issue according to the president of the United States’ policies,” McCain said today.

In introducing the resolution today, senators were critical of the U.N.-backed peace plan for Syria, saying it fell short in not calling for Assad to step down.

“The U.N. is fiddling while Syria is burning,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, “there is nothing to negotiate but this guy leaving.

“Everything we know about Bashar suggests that he accepted this peace plan because he is playing for time,” Graham added, “he is exploiting the good -faith desire by many in the international community to find a diplomatic solution to end the bloodshed so that he can continue his killing and creating more bloodshed.”

Senators hope that their resolution will be brought to the Senate floor quickly, but there is no time estimate on when that could happen.

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