Senator warns against repeating mistakes of Middle Eastern intervention

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Last week, President Obama recognized that Syrian President Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people. Those actions prompted the president to offer aid and support to the Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime. Obama is expected to offer weapons to the rebels, but Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have called on Obama to do more by implementing a no-fly zone.

Udall warned that the situation in Syria could turn into something similar to what happened when the United States armed Afghanistan rebels against the Soviet Union — those rebels later formed the Taliban government that aided in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack against the United States. Since the attack the U.S. has been engaged in a war in that country.

“We may ultimately help those who seek to do us harm,” Udall said. “Our short-term victory had long-term consequences to the future. .. The aftermath has been more than a decade of war with tragic loss of American lives and treasure. This is history to learn from, not repeat.”

Udall added that what little is known about the Syrian rebels is “disturbing” and that if they don’t attack the United States, they could attack allies, such as Israel, with the weapons provided by the U.S. government.

Udall said those advocating for more U.S. intervention in the region should first ask themselves if the United States can control how those weapons are used after Assad is overthrown.

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