House Intel Chair Volunteers Arab League to Help Secure Chemical Weapons

None

Rogers: Snowden is a "felon."
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
See more stories about...
Sara Sorcher
Sept. 12, 2013, 8:41 a.m.

Des­pite call­ing the avail­able op­tions to se­cure Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons “pretty aw­ful,” House In­tel­li­gence Chair­man Mike Ro­gers, R-Mich., said it was pos­sible to trans­fer the coun­try’s massive stock­piles to in­ter­na­tion­al con­trol — es­pe­cially with Ar­ab League troops on the ground.

“I do think you can get a good per­cent­age of them, be­cause the As­sad re­gime is also wor­ried these things could fall in the wrong hands and could be used against the re­gime,” Ro­gers told the In­tel­li­gence and Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Al­li­ance sum­mit on Thursday.

Pres­id­ent Obama this week asked a wary Con­gress to post­pone a vote au­thor­iz­ing force to pun­ish Syr­i­an strong­man Bashar al-As­sad for us­ing chem­ic­al weapons against his people to pur­sue dip­lo­mat­ic op­tions in­stead. These op­tions in­clude a res­ol­u­tion at the United Na­tions Se­cur­ity Coun­cil re­quir­ing As­sad to place his chem­ic­al ar­sen­al un­der in­ter­na­tion­al con­trol to be des­troyed. Syr­ia, one of the few coun­tries that nev­er signed the 1992 Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion, is be­lieved to have one of the largest stock­piles of these weapons in the world — and se­cur­ing and des­troy­ing them would be an ar­du­ous task even without a bloody civil war still ra­ging.

To wade in­to Syr­ia, where more than 100,000 people have died in the con­flict, chem­ic­al-weapons in­spect­ors would surely need pro­tec­tion. Ro­gers in­sisted there’s no need for U.S. boots on the ground in Syr­ia. In­stead, the Ar­ab League is “will­ing to provide the sup­port we need, in­clud­ing troops to go in and help se­cure those weapons sys­tems, be­cause they know how dan­ger­ous it is if it pro­lif­er­ates around the Le­vant,” he said.

“So I kind of hope we shake ourselves out of this mal­aise, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion re­groups about how we could im­pact that with a plan that’s mean­ing­ful and em­braces our Ar­ab League part­ners eager to do it,” Ro­gers said. Saudi Ar­a­bia, Qatar, Jordan, and Tur­key are the part­ners “eager” to take on the task, Ro­gers said.

By con­trast, Ro­gers says no Re­pub­lic­an or Demo­crat on his com­mit­tee, or even on the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tees, is in­ter­ested in try­ing to put thou­sands of U.S. troops on the ground. “That’s nuts. It would be a hor­rible de­cision.”

Even with a con­cer­ted mis­sion to pro­tect and des­troy the chem­ic­al weapons, there are dan­ger­ous con­sequences. “We do think there’s go­ing to be some fur­ther dis­pers­al of the chem­ic­al weapons,” Ro­gers said. This is es­pe­cially wor­ry­ing be­cause — as rank­ing mem­ber Dutch Rup­pers­ber­ger, D-Md., noted — oth­er groups might like to get their hands on these weapons. “There’s al-Qaida on one side, Hezbol­lah on the oth­er.”

Syr­ia, Rup­pers­ber­ger says, can­not be trus­ted to fully co­oper­ate. “They have to be totally held ac­count­able. I’m sure they’re mov­ing [their stocks] right now know­ing that this is com­ing at this point,” Rup­pers­ber­ger told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “The only reas­on they’re agree­ing to any­thing at this point is be­cause of the threat of power.” Rup­pers­ber­ger agrees Wash­ing­ton can­not take on this mis­sion alone. “The United States can’t be the sher­iff of the whole world; it’s got to be a co­ali­tion.”

Sar­in, the nerve agent sus­pec­ted of killing hun­dreds of people last month and spark­ing Wash­ing­ton’s call for mil­it­ary ac­tion, can be des­troyed in a short peri­od of time. “In the old days, it was a much more com­plic­ated pro­cess,” Ro­gers says. By con­trast, mus­tard gas and oth­er weapons “are go­ing to take a lot longer; you’ve got to do it with in­cin­er­at­ors.”

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×