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Key senators move to block any U.S. military aid to Syrian rebels

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — Congress has been mulling legislation that would halt
U.S. military intervention in Syria.

Several members of the Senate have been lobbying for a bill that would
prevent the administration of President Barack Obama from ordering U.S.
military action in Syria.

Sen. Chris Murphy.  /AP

Sen. Chris Murphy. /AP

The legislation would prevent the Defense Department and the intelligence community from spending any funding approved by Congress for operations in Syria.

“No funds made available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose of, or in a manner which would have the effect of, supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual,” the legislation,
introduced on June 20, said.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Chris Murphy, Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul, three of whom are members of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. Murphy, Paul and Udall cast the lone opposing votes in
the committee in a vote to authorize President Barack Obama to equip and
train the Sunni rebels.

“I’m deeply skeptical about plans for military intervention in Syria,
given the dangerously fractured state of the opposition, and the very real
risk of American weapons and money falling into the hands of the same
terrorist organizations we’re already fighting around the world,” Murphy
said.

The senators complained that the administration has not briefed Congress
on the repercussions of U.S. military aid to the rebels. They warned that
the lack of transparency could drag Washington into a proxy war against Iran
and Russia, the chief supporters of the regime of Syrian President Bashar
Assad.

“But there are too many questions about how the president’s decision to
arm the Syrian rebels is going to be handled, and unfortunately many of
those answers are being kept secret,” Udall said.

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