Senate

McCain: Obama to blame for Russia’s buildup in Syria

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) slammed the Obama administration on Monday, suggesting its foreign policy has allowed Russia to bolster its military in Syria. 

“Russia’s doubling down on the murderous Assad regime is yet another example of how this administration’s feckless foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and diminished our standing in the world,” McCain said Monday in a statement.

{mosads}The Arizona Republican, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of Syria, as well as its overall foreign policy. 

His comments come after Russia reportedly warned over the weekend that the United States should cooperate on military efforts inside Syria to avoid “unintended consequences.” 

U.S. officials believe that 200 Russian naval infantry are stationed at an airfield near Latakia, an stronghold of Syrian President Bashar Assad, amid reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is bolstering Moscow’s presence inside the country. 

While the United States and Russia were responsible for an agreement on Syria handing over and destroying its known chemical weapons stockpile, they disagree on Assad’s role in Syria. 

Putin backs the regime, while the Obama administration has called for Assad to step aside. President Obama doubled down on those remarks, saying Russia’s strategy is “doomed to fail.” 

McCain suggested on Monday that Russia is “capitalizing on American inaction” and “engaged in a dangerous military buildup” despite Secretary of State John Kerry voicing his concern earlier this month. 

The State Department said earlier this month that Kerry told his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, that if Russia builds up its military inside Syria, it could “further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria.” 

Tags John Kerry John McCain

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