Senator John McCain has been criticizing the President for months on his Syria foreign policy. Mr. ‘Take Charge’ McCain decided to go to Syria and have a firsthand meeting with the rebels. Unfortunately for John McCain, he was photographed with two alleged terrorists.
The Daily Star reports it as follows.
U.S. Senator John McCain was photographed with a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago, during a brief and highly publicized visit inside Syria this week. …
The pilgrims were kidnapped by armed rebels in Azaz, in Syria’s Aleppo province, in May last year as they were making their way back to Lebanon from Iran. …
Two of the kidnapped, Anwar Ibrahim and Hussein Ali Omar were released in August and September but intense negotiations are still underway for the remaining nine, believed to be in the custody of the “Northern Storm” brigade, headed by rebel commander Ammar Al-Dadikhi, aka Abu Ibrahim. The Northern Storm Brigade also claimed responsibility for the kidnap of a Lebanese journalist in October. …
Ibrahim and other members of the kidnapped family said they recognized Nour, and another man affiliated with the group, also identified as “Abu Ibrahim,” immediately after seeing the photos, widely circulated by international media following McCain’s visit. [source]
No one believes McCain is in Syria palling around with terrorist. One would think that his former running mate Sarah Palin may feel otherwise given her use of that same phrase on President Obama’s acquaintance with William C. Ayers.
According to the same article above, Senator McCain’s spokesman Brian Rogers said “If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohammad Nour that is regrettable”.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 28, 2013
The very serious aspect of this story is simple. President Obama’s caution with Syria is justified. The reality is neither the President nor Senator McCain know the composition of the rebels fighting in Syria. The dynamics and permutations of sectarian relationships make American involvement a losing proposition.
The best quote comes from a Syrian doctor in an NPR story by Steve Inskeep as he reported from Syria.
"Twenty percent of the people of all Syria love the president too much. And 20 percent may hate the president too much. But the rest, which is 60, loves their country," he said. "They do not want their country to be destroyed."
The doctor said he does not love Assad too much. He even dared to say that others could do better. Yet he strongly disapproves of the rebels.
"I am with any revolution who change for the better, who changes for democracy. But I do not agree with any revolution who destroy the country," he said. [source]
Senator McCain seems to believe the answer to every foreign problem is US military involvement. He is attempting to force the President’s hand. If he is unable to know who he is palling around with in Syria while in theater, how can he expect the President to trust the information from the CIA or any other organization when they have failed miserably over and over?
It is ironic that as McCain and his party are comfortable forcing cuts on programs that materially hurt the middle class; they have no problem re-engaging in yet what would be another expensive war. This is not America’s war. If other western countries want to get engaged, that is their prerogative. The President will do well to continue leading from behind in these types of conflicts.