WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he worries that the cause of rebels fighting Syria's President Bashar Assad has been obscured in the rapid-fire military and diplomatic events following a chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
"I feel very badly for my friends in the Free Syrian Army today," McCain said.
The Arizona Republican said that he is not against negotiating to defuse the chemical weapons issue, but he also said, "There's nothing that will drive Syrians more into the hands of extremists than to feel they have been abandoned by the West."
One of the persistent questions about U.S. policy in war-ravaged Syria is to what extent the terrorist network al-Qaida is involved in the efforts to end Assad's rule. McCain said President Barack Obama should have acted more forcefully against Assad many months ago.
McCain said he is concerned that the Russian plan for securing Syria's chemical weapons could be a "rope-a-dope" delaying tactic. But he added that it should take only a few days for the U.S. to determine whether the proposal is serious and workable.
"Put me down as extremely skeptical" about the Russian plan, he said, although McCain said Washington should not reject it out of hand.
The GOP's 2008 presidential candidate also said that should the Russian proposal fall apart, it could actually help Obama's struggle to win congressional support for a limited military strike against Syria. He said that's because the failure of diplomacy could bolster Obama's argument that a U.S. attack was a necessary course of action.
McCain spoke at a breakfast sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, the morning after Obama used a nationally broadcast speech to seek public support for military action.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
We’ve turned a corner! The weather is warming up so it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some fantastic weather.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Low pressure is moving in. Find out when it could bring rain back to the Valley.
By the time he arrived home Tuesday night, Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead had already been on the job for 14 hours. Hours earlier, he had finally delivered the news many in the community had been hoping for: a child killer had been caught.
It's really that simple. All you have to do is download the new ABC15 Mobile app!
Phoenix Suns broadcaster Tom Chambers has apologized to the NBA team and its fans after being arrested on suspicion of DUI.
A state lawmaker has promised to introduce a bill next legislative session that would require a full performance and financial audit of the Arizona State Hospital, known as ASH.
For the first time we're hearing from a woman who says her husband tried to have her killed, twice. Fred Knalder just took a plea deal and Libby Knadler says she fears for her life.