Mike Rogers: It’s ‘not too late’ to arm Syrian rebels

Updated
A rebel fighter points his gun towards pro-government forces' positions during clashes in the Salaheddine district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on...
A rebel fighter points his gun towards pro-government forces' positions during clashes in the Salaheddine district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on...
JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

There is no one in Congress standing in the way of what the Obama administration wants to do to combat the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Rep. Mike Rogers said on Thursday.

“The way it’s going to happen I think you’ll find lots of requirements and different layers of oversight that we may not have seen before based on the challenging facts on the ground, and there are no good outcomes here,” Rogers, House Intelligence chair, said on AMR.

Last month President Obama’s administration confirmed the use of chemical weapons by Assad and pledged to increase support to the Syrian opposition fighters. But the promise to assist could be too late.

Politicians, including Rogers, pressured the administration to make a decision earlier, but the longer it went the more confusing the battlefield became.

Syrian refugees in Jordan spoke to Sec. of State John Kerry on Thursday about the failure of the United States to deliver on its promise of weapons to the rebels as Assad continues to win the battle.

“I think they’re frustrated and angry at the world for not stepping in and helping,” Kerry said from Jordan. “I don’t think it’s as cut and dry and simple as some of them look at it, but if I were in their shoes I’d be looking for help from wherever I could find it.”

The United States has lost support of the Arab League and opposition, and needs to reengage, Rogers said. Al Qaeda elements have attached themselves to secular units and many terrorist organizations operate in Syria. In addition, people from all over the world went to the country to join a jihad fight.

The United States should use its intelligence and training capabilities to get weapons into the right hands, and build relationships, Rogers said.

“Remember, we are very late to this game,” he said. “And this game has changed dramatically over the last year and a half.”

Mike Rogers: It's 'not too late' to arm Syrian rebels

Updated