Romney advisor: Arm the moderates in Syria opposition


Richard Williamson, a top foreign policy spokesperson for the Mitt Romney campaign, tells Al Monitor‘s Barbara Slavin that the US should arm selected rebel forces in Syria and be willing to go beyond the UN Security Council to intervene in Syria. Williamson also demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment and said the US should be more loyal to Israel, which he said President Barack Obama had thrown “under the bus.”

From Slavin’s interview:

Williamson: The first thing is we should be in there… You can have covert operatives, others you are working with, Turkey and … working with exiles, just like we did with Libya. The suggestion that you should lead from behind is folly in a case like this. We have great strategic interests in Syria. The commander of Central Command [Gen. James Mattis] said that the greatest strategic blow to Iran would be a change of the Assad regime… The question really is why haven’t we done more in the last 14 months.

Al-Monitor: Do you think it’s going to be necessary at some point for the US to inject its own forces, beyond special forces?

Williamson: Sens. [Lindsey] Graham, [Joe] Lieberman, [John] McCain and others are calling for steps like that. Gov. Romney has been very judicious and careful, very prudent and not taking that step. He’s not said that’s something he’d be supporting because we’ve not gotten to that point yet. Right now we should be … arming the moderates among the opposition, going more forcefully at the UN Security Council. But just as importantly in the end, we can’t let Russia determine what we can and cannot do… If we used that criteria, we never would have gone in to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. President Obama should take a lesson from President Clinton.

Read the rest of the interview here.

(Photo: Top Romney foreign policy advisor Richard Williamson, a former US special envoy for Sudan, speaks to journalists in Khartoum, February 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin.)