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realclearworld

Sen. Marco Rubio’s Plan for Syria

Syria flag

Two weeks ago the rebels in Syria raised the same flag that was raised in Libya after Muammar Gaddafi fell ... al-Qaeda's.

Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced The Syria Democracy Transition Act of 2012 in order to assist in the ousting of the Assad regime, and funding for a post-regime Syria.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today introduced a comprehensive bill to hasten the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, offer support for genuinely democratic and inclusive opposition groups, and provide economic incentives to create a prosperous future in a post-Assad Syria.

“President Obama has said Assad’s departure is imminent, ever since he first called for his departure last August. Almost six months later, Assad remains in power,” said Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The answer does not lie with the UN Security Council, where Russia and China wait with a veto. Unless we continue to increase pressure on his regime and plan effectively for a post-Assad Syria, we run the risk of violence and instability getting even more out of control, both in Syria and the region.”

The Syria Democracy Transition Act of 2012 would apply crippling sanctions to Syria’s Central Bank, petroleum and shipping industries, going straight at the oil revenue, arms deals, and other support that continues to prop up Assad’s moribund regime. Additionally, the bill would create a $50 million Syrian Stabilization Fund (from existing State Department appropriations) to monitor and dispose of unconventional weapons threatening U.S. troops and our allies in the region, and to provide vital assistance to opposition groups working towards an inclusive and democratic future in Syria. The bill would also open the door to a range of economic incentives for Syria, including an Enterprise Fund closely modeled on the Eastern European models that would help kick start the private sector once a genuinely democratic post-Assad transition is underway.

“We need to reassert our leadership role in the region,” added Rubio. “Once the Administration certifies a legitimate transitional authority, our assistance will prove vital to preparing the Syrian people for the difficult yet ultimately rewarding path to true representational democracy.”

[...]

Sen. Rubio's efforts are to rescue the brutally tortured (and slaughtered) Syrian civilians, and to avoid Syria adding to the instability in the region. But this part is key:

"... including an Enterprise Fund closely modeled on the Eastern European models that would help kick start the private sector once a genuinely democratic post-Assad transition is underway."

Outside the initial sanctions nothing should be given to the Syrian rebels, or to anyone replacing Assad's government until we are certain they are not what appears to be emerging in Libya.

We armed the Libyan rebels, not even knowing who they were and what their agenda was outside of dumping Muammar Gaddafi. The administration also foolishly expected that once Gaddafi was gone the rebels would return the weapons. They did not. The violence continues in Libya with the new government. And in Libya's wake, the U.N. is as useless and ineffective as usual. Meanwhile Gaddafi's weapons have made their way out of the country to Gaza, Tunisia and Al-Qaida.

Exactly who are the rebels in Syria, and what/who do they plan on replacing the Assad government with? What will the administration, NATO, and the U.N. do to secure Bashar al-Assad’s massive WMD stockpiles once his regime collapses so that they do not join Gaddafi's weapons on the world terrorist black market?

I trust the Obama administration even less on Syria than I did on Libya, given its continued murky, yet appeasing, position on Iran, who happens to be the Assad regime's strongest ally. The administration hasn't done anything with Syria yet because they don't want to. Perhaps because there is nothing political in it for Obama ... Or perhaps because they don't want a reminder of the Libyan "kinetic mission" reviewed and updated for the war weary American public so far into an election year. I don't assume to read Sen. Rubio's mind, and he obviously has the experience, knowledge, and inside intel we are not privy to. Maybe he is attempting to force the Obama administration's hand with his bill, into either directly doing something against Assad, or standing up to the opposition in the U.N. Security Council.

More likely, Sen. Marco Rubio has the real leadership ability and fortitude Obama lacks.

2 comments to Sen. Marco Rubio’s Plan for Syria