Washington (September 18, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding the proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels.
“I commend President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their steadfastness during this conflict. ISIL is a brutal terrorist organization that has killed thousands of people, persecuted religious minorities, and created a massive humanitarian crisis.
“I support President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s near-term efforts to build an international coalition and use air strikes against ISIL to defend Americans and our allies and degrade ISIL’s capacity to continue the rampant killing of innocent civilians.
“But after weighing the information available, I cannot support the current proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels. The Syrian civil war is complex, involves various military factions, and has attracted thousands of foreign fighters. There are unintended consequences that may come from arming one of these factions to fight against another, including the very real risk of American weapons falling into the wrong hands.
“Additionally, part of the purpose of this authorization is to ‘Promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end conflict in Syria’. I believe this is too open-ended, too broad and could be used to extend American involvement in Syria for a decade or more.
“I have grave concerns that American military leaders have not ruled out the potential use of ground troops for combat. I have no greater responsibility than the decision to send young men and women from Massachusetts and across the country into harms way, and I do not believe this is a fight for American ground troops.
“We must cut off the oil revenue that has become ISIL’s lifeblood. Shutting down that flow of oil will diminish the ability of this evil group to pay its soldiers, buy tribal loyalties, and recruit young people to its cause.
“Without a clearer vision for what constitutes success in Syria, including the specific goals, timelines, resources and repercussions of our involvement there, I am unable to support this proposal.”