McCain, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, went on to blast Obama in a statement released by his office for lacking the “will and leadership” to remove Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, from power.
McCain applauded the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board, which meets for the first time on Monday. He added that while “good bureaucratic organization may be necessary to stop mass atrocities and gross human rights abuses, ... it is not sufficient.”
Obama also on Monday announced new tools to help the board accomplish its goal of identifying and countering atrocities. He signed an executive order authorizing sanctions and visa bans against those abusing human rights through information technology such as cellphone tracking or Internet monitoring. The White House in a fact sheet named Iran and Syria as two countries guilty of this new type of violation.
McCain said it was not enough to counter the ongoing slaughter of innocents in Syria.
“Despite all of the diplomatic and economic pressure that has been imposed on Bashar al-Assad, his campaign of violence against the Syrian people continues,” McCain said. “And there is no end in sight to the slaughter. Recent reports suggest that the Syrian opposition is literally running out of ammunition, while Assad’s forces are being rearmed and resupplied by Russia and Iran. The only way to stop the killing, force Assad to leave power, and create the conditions for a negotiated political transition for Syria is to change the military balance of power on the ground, including giving the Syrian people the means to defend themselves.”