McCain: Russia is key to success in Syria

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the United States has few choices other than to rely on Russia to stabilize Syria and stop the civil war there.

“The entire strategy for success at Geneva now relies on Russia putting pressure on the Syrian government to engage in a serious and constructive way,” McCain said over the weekend. 

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McCain weighed in as the second round of peace talks in Geneva has failed to produce results. 

Syria President Bashar Assad is accused of continuing to kill his own people if they speak out against his government, although the United States and the United Nations have gotten him to pledge not to use chemical weapons.

McCain said Russia, which has supported Assad, holds the power to stop the Syrian civil war.

“Russia has recently prevented the passage of a much-needed U.N. resolution on bringing aid to desperate Syrian civilians and continues to provide the means by which President Bashar al-Assad carries out his assault on the Syrian people,” McCain said. “Such actions indicate that the Russian government is simply not a partner for peace in Syria and cannot be relied on to help secure a successful outcome.”

McCain said the only other option of forcing Assad out was to “change the balance of power on the ground” by supplying rebel forces with more arms.

“President Bashar al-Assad must no longer believe he can continue his assault on the Syrian people with impunity and the unconditional support of his allies,” McCain said. “There are options far short of an Iraq-style invasion that can, and should, be employed to change the calculation of the Syrian regime, stem the violence, and ultimately achieve a negotiated political solution.”

McCain, who has criticized the administration’s handling of Syria, applauded news that President Obama is starting to consider other policy options.