Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said that it’s time to start arming the Syrian rebels with weapons and ammunition, with the right checks in place, in an interview Tuesday.
“Those arms have to be clearly tracked once they reach the opposition and the opposition forces have to be vetted, so that we’re arming only the ‘good guys’ so to speak,” Blumenthal said on Jansing & Co.
The United States is already providing non-lethal aid such as night vision goggles and equipment to opposition forces. Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to send small arms to moderate rebel groups and Tuesday the European Union announced it will lift it’s arms embargo on the Syrian rebels.
Blumenthal said the United States should remain cautions, but that some arms would be appropriate, “if we can vet and track [them].”
Monday, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona traveled in secret to Syria to meet with one of the leaders of a moderate rebel group. McCain is the most high profile U.S. official to travel to the country in two years. The former presidential candidate had previously traveled to to Libya, Egypt, and Afghanistan with Blumenthal.
“I am strongly opposed to American involvement with boots on the ground, or troops,” Blumenthal said. And he continues to push for more humanitarian aid in the conflict that’s created 1.3 million refugees and killed nearly 70,000 people.
Blumenthal added that Jordan is “under extreme strain” and needs U.S. help.
The Obama administration says they were aware of Senator McCain’s trip, but they are referring questions to his office. Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry was again meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister to try and schedule a peace conference in Geneva will all of the parties involved.