U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke to Alhurra’s Congressional Correspondent Rana Abtar yesterday about the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013, which would provide limited lethal and non-lethal weapons to vetted Syrian groups.
“As long as Assad can have an absolute monopoly on air power and artillery, then the freedom fighters have a tough job ahead of them,” he said. “So we need to change the dynamics.”
Menendez said he supports pursuing a political solution in Syria, and that this legislation doesn’t exclude that. If “the political process that is unfolding can have success, fantastic! We are all for it. But if it fails, continuing on this course to be in a position to send the message that we are ready to arm the rebels, I think is a good message.”
In addition to providing limited lethal and non-lethal weapons, the proposed legislation includes $250 million in a transition fund and gives the administration more flexibility in providing humanitarian assistance as needed.
Menendez added, “We are looking at the possibility of sanctioning those countries or entities that would provide Assad with weapons or oil. We think it’s a package that creates an opportunity to see the tragedy come to a close.”