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Republican Intelligence chairman splits with Romney on Syria

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Wednesday said he opposes arming insurgents in Syria, a position that puts him at odds with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. 

"I'm not sure arming is the right answer here, mainly because of we're just not exactly sure who the bad guys are, who the good guys are, so you don't know who you're giving weapons to," said Rogers on CNN's "Starting Point."

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Rogers said he believes the United States should be "more aggressive" with its Arab League partners in dealing with Syria. 

"We know that al Qaeda has been attempting to infiltrate, and we've seen them do some bombing in Damascus, so I think a more concerted effort … standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Arab League, who does want to do more in Syria, I think is probably the best course of action," Rogers said.

Romney called for the United States and partner nations to “arm the opposition so they can defend themselves” against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. 



“President Obama’s lack of leadership has resulted in a policy of paralysis that has watched Assad slaughter 10,000 individuals,” Romney said in a statement Tuesday.

The massacre in Syria over the weekend that left more than 100 people dead has drawn international condemnation and renewed calls for U.S. involvement.

Despite his concerns about providing military support to rebel forces, the Intelligence committee chairman told CNN that more than just diplomacy is required to stop the violence in Syria.

"We have tools at our disposal that I don't believe that we're using in Syria that we need to use in Syria, and that comes through our efforts with the Arab League, so there are things that we can do without arming the rebels," Rogers said.

When pressed on specifically what tools should be applied in Syria, Rogers declined to provide details, but said he believes the United States has capabilities that, which in conjunction with Arab League partners, could "provide a tipping point." 


Rogers also told CNN the United States needs to start putting pressure on Russia to help resolve the situation.

"Russia really needs to decide if they're going to be on the side of the rest of the world or their going to continue to isolate their particular behavior when it comes to supporting the Assad regime in Syria," Rogers said.

Read more on the opposing views on the role the United States should take in Syria.

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