US Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has criticized President Barack Obama’s policy in Syria as an “epic disaster” which could “work against our national security interests.”
Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued Sunday that the Syrian “conflict is so complicated for the United States to get involved.”
The Connecticut senator took a swipe at Obama’s plan to train and equip so-called moderate militants into a proxy ground force purportedly to fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists.
“He [Obama] spent $40 million on that, we have trained a grand total of 50 Syrian rebels and they have all disappeared,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It was a bad plan. It was an epic disaster everybody and an example of how US intervention can go wrong, not right,” Murphy contended. “If even we had trained the rebels, they were likely going to go on the ground and serve side by side with al-Qaeda, the very group that is now trying to spur lone wolf attacks against us.”
The senator also said that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq “contributed to the ongoing mess in that region and inside Syria.”The Pentagon is revamping its “train and equip” program in Syria, The New York Times reported last week.
Department of Defense officials are drawing up plans to put larger number of newly-trained militants in safer zones as well as providing them with more intelligence on the Daesh terror network, the report said.
The shift in strategy comes after the first round of US-trained militants were attacked by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in July, highlighting several glaring deficiencies in the Pentagon program. One militant fighter was killed in the attack and five more were captured.
US credibility at stake
Discussing the escalating refugee crisis, Sen. Murphy argued that US credibility is at stake because of its slow response. He said the United States should take in 50,000 refugees, far more than the 10,000 the Obama administration has agreed to accommodate next year.
“It doesn’t stand to reason that Germany is going to take 800,000 and the US has only taken 1,500,” he said. “If we want credibility in the region, we’ve got to be seen as a partner in trying to solve this humanitarian crisis. Right now, we’re not.”
The International Organization for Migration said Friday that more than 430,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with 2,748 dying or going missing in packed and unseaworthy boats.
The continent is now divided over how to deal with the flood of people, mainly Syrians fleeing the four-year conflict in their homeland.