“This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda.”
That was the declaration Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; pictured) made on May 21 during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Paul’s comments were directed at his colleagues, nearly all of whom voted to send arms to Syrian rebels.
Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill that authorizes “critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.”
The bill sailed through the committee, passing with bipartisan support by a vote of 15-3.
Senator Paul offered two amendments to the bill — officially styled the Syria Transition Support Act — one that would have forbidden the transfer of weapons to the rebel forces fighting to oust the government of current Syrian president Bashar al-Asad, and another that would have prevented the use of U.S. military armed forces in Syria.
Both of Paul’s amendments were rejected by the committee.
Apart from supplying lethal and non-lethal weaponry to Syrian opposition forces, the Menendez-Corker bill contains several other regime-toppling provisions, all of which are boastfully reported by Mendendez on his website. They include:
• “Creation of a $250 million transition fund each year through FY2015 drawn from funds otherwise appropriated for regional transition support”;
• “Sanctions on arms and oil sales to Assad: Targeting any person that the President of the United States determines has knowingly participated in or facilitated a transaction related to the sale or transfer of military equipment, arms, petroleum, or petroleum products to the Assad regime.”; and
• “Amendment to the Syria Accountability Act: To allow for sanctions removal once a transitional government is in place and certain terrorism and WMD criteria have been met.”
Neither Paul’s warnings nor his amendments were enough to counteract the powerful politicians pushing to arm the Syrian rebels.
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Photo of Sen. Rand Paul: AP Images