McCain blasts Obama handling of Syria, warns of chemical weapons threat

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted the Obama administration Sunday for failing to do more to help rebel fighters in Syria.

McCain urged the president to move swiftly to provide U.S. arms and equipment to rebels.

“We need to get some equipment to them, we need to establish a buffer zone,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union”.

He warned the Obama administration’s decision not to intervene more actively could allow Hezbollah to acquire chemical weapons or lead to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad using such weapons against his own people.

He said Israeli security officials are particularly concerned about the prospect of Hezbollah obtaining chemical weapons as a result of the conflict.

"Now there is a risk, and I'm not saying it is going to happen, a risk that in his desperation, Bashar al-Assad might use those chemical weapons — but clearly the Israelis see this as a serious threat, because the situation has gone on and on and on," he said.

McCain charged the Obama administration could have kept the conflict from growing into a major regional threat by marshaling an anti-Assad coalition.   

“Because of our failure to assist, because of our failure to lead other willing nations in the region like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, the situation has now deteriorated to a situation which is really, really very dangerous,” McCain said.

“This administration has relied on the good will of Russia and the United Nations Security Council, relied on Russia for a long period of time, that they would take Bashar al-Assad to Russia. It has been shameful. It is shameful,” he said.

McCain said efforts to work through the United Nations have been ineffective.

“Kofi Annan’s plan has been an abject failure, we keep supporting that, we keep hoping, pushing this reset button with Russia,” he said. “We are now bound by the decisions of the U.N. Security Council which are dictated by Russia and China.”

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