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Senator Menendez issues hawkish bill on Syrian intervention

By Michael Krebs     May 7, 2013 in Politics
Seeking US economic and military intervention in Syria's civil war, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) issues the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a bill on Monday that would directly involve the United States in the meandering Syrian civil war, offering to openly arm the Syrian rebellion and to provide U.S. financial aid to the nations currently hosting Syrian refugees.
The Syrian Stabilization Act of 2013, as the bill is known, would also call for the replacement of the current Bashar al Assad administration and would guarantee humanitarian aid to Syrian citizens.
The bill comes amid the ongoing concerns of sarin gas and chemical weapons usage, however it remains unknown which side in the murky and bloody conflict instituted the reported use of the deadly weapons.
"A change in government could be a significant blow to Iran and Hezbollah, which would lose a strong ally and who have been aggressively providing military assistance to President Assad," the Syrian Stabilization Act states in its introductory positioning.
Instability in Syria has already led Israel to strike targets unilaterally within Syrian borders, an action that Syria sees as an act of war. Israeli actions have additionally put the White House on the defensive, defining and redefining the nature of the "red line" President Obama has drawn with regard to Syrian weapons usage against the rebellion.
“What he never did — it would be simplistic to do so — was say, ‘If X happens, Y will happen,’ ” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday, according to The Hill.
“He never said what reaction he would take at a policy level to the proved crossing of the red line in Syria.”
It remains unclear how congressional Democrats and Republicans will react to the Menendez legislative initiative, but, according to a Huffington Post / You Gov poll cited by the liberal Huffington Post, most Americans are clear in their opposition to Syrian military action.
However, Senator Menendez appears to support a decidedly hawkish position on Syria.
"The Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options," Menendez said in a written statement, according to a Fox News report. "The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria."
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