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Rand Paul blames Republican hawks for growth of ISIS

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday blasted members of his party for sending arms to the Middle East that have ended up in the hands of Islamic militants.

{mosads}Paul, a Republican presidential candidate who has often sparred with others over his non-interventionist positions on foreign policy, faulted GOP lawmakers for helping the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS, that hawks in our party have been arming,” Paul said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS,” he continued.

He made the remarks when asked about comments from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who is expected to launch his own White House bid next Monday.

Graham has advocated sending around 10,000 U.S. troops to Iraq to help train and support local forces battling ISIS, which captured the city of Ramadi recently. Iraqi forces hope to retake the city soon.

Paul noted that hawkish Republican lawmakers wanted to bomb Syrian President Bashar Assad, who views ISIS as a common enemy, to help moderate rebel forces. ISIS has also taken large swaths in Syria.

“They created these people,” Paul said of lawmakers advocating such a move.

“The same hawks in my party, they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it,” he said, referring to the former secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner.

“Everything they have talked about in foreign policy they have been wrong about for 20 years, and yet somehow they have the gall to keep saying, and pointing fingers,” Paul said.

Paul said he also supported replacing Assad, and that he would “recognize the Kurds,” seen as a top fighting force in the region.

“I would give them weapons,” Paul said of his own strategy, adding he would advocate a peace treaty between Turks and Kurds.

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