Middle East/North Africa

Syrian situation deteriorating, Rice says

National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday that the situation in Syria is deteriorating.

Unlike the Holocaust or Rwandan massacre, the civil war in Syria is “not a genocide,” she said, adding that sending American troops would only make things worse.

“This is not a genocide,” Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a horrific civil war.”

{mosads}Rice called for an end to the violence, but said western diplomacy with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would go further toward helping the country heal than sending in the military.

“At the end of the day, unless there is a political solution, this thing is not going to be resolved,” Rice said. “It’s not going to be resolved on the battlefield.”

Rice also said that the U.S. cannot afford to get into another war, just as it is pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We have every interest to end this conflict, but in a way that does not insert the United States back into a hot conflict in the Middle East,” Rice said.

According to reports, the Assad regime has only turned over 11 percent of its chemical weapons, despite agreeing to turn over the entire stockpile by early February.

Both Rice and a Republican senator said Sunday that they are concerned about potential terrorist threats against the U.S. coming from insurgents in Syria.

“What I’m worried about also is the recent testimony of the Director of National Intelligence [James] Clapper about how the al Qaeda extremists in Syria are now actually posing a threat to our homeland,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“So this is a real issue for us, as well,” she added.

Ayotte said President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both been outmaneuvered by Assad.

“Putin could play a role of putting pressure on Assad,” Ayotte (R-N.H.) said. “They’re not putting enough pressure on Assad. The Assad regime is dragging its feet, slow rolling, trying to comply with the chemical weapons agreement. And so right now Assad is winning, which is very unfortunate.”

Tags Kelly Ayotte Syria

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