McCain looking for the nearest microphone.
President Trump has decided to end a CIA program to arm rebels in Syria, according to a new report.
U.S. support for rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad was a bipartisan, if controversial, plank of American policy in the country as recently as last fall. Former President Barack Obama began the shipments in 2013 and a GOP-led Congress eased restrictions on the program in 2016. But Russia and Turkey, a NATO ally, have accused the United States of backing terrorist groups.
“Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests,” according to the Washington Post, which first reported the move. “The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington’s limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power.”
Russia has denounced U.S. support for the rebel groups throughout the civil war, accusing the U.S. of commiting a “hostile act” and claiming that the Obama team was trying to block a Trump-led rapprochement with Russia.
“Overall, it appears that the Authorization Act has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration…to create problems for the incoming Trump administration and complicate its relations on the international stage, as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in December. “We hope the new administration will be more sagacious.”