Manchin: I will not support training Syrian rebels

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he doesn’t trust Syrian rebels and will not support President Obama’s plan to train them in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I cannot and will not support arming and training Syrian rebels,” Manchin said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The first principle of war is to know your enemy. … It is equally important to know our allies and I am not confident that we know who our allies are.

{mosads}“How do we know they won’t join forces with ISIS if it would help them defeat [Syrian President Bashar] Assad.”

Manchin said he supports Obama’s airstrike efforts but that he’d prefer that Middle Eastern countries, such as Turkey, use their military to present a ground front rather than arming moderate Syrian rebels. 

“We have been at war in that part of the world for that last 13 years,” Manchin said. “If money and military might could make a difference it would have by now.”

The House is expected to pass a continued spending resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 on Wednesday and attach an amendment to train Syrian rebels at the president’s request. Lawmakers are trying to get out of town by the end of the week so some can head home to campaign for the midterm election.

“I do not believe we should have to fund our government and arm Syrian rebels in the same vote,” Manchin said. “But if it that is the decision I am forced to make, it is one I am committed to making. … I believe these issues should be separate and debated.”

Tags ISIS Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Joe Manchin Syria

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