The United States cannot stop at jawboning Iran and turning a blind eye to Syria but instead needs to take the offensive to “stand up for American’s interests” as well as those of Israel, said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Robert Menendez during his first official visit to Israel.
A strong and passionate support of Israel, he chose to write in the left-wing Haaretz newspaper Monday, “I arrive in a thriving Israel, but there is trouble in the neighborhood. From Egypt to Syria and beyond, the Arab revolutions have been a mixed bag for Israel.”
He wrote that instead of standing on the sidelines, the Obama administration “cannot allow the Iranians to continue to stall through talks while simultaneously bringing hundreds of new centrifuges online.”
He also stated that the United States must actively intervene in Syria, regardless of the emergence of Islamic terrorist groups among rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“The United States must play a role in tipping the scales toward moderate opposition groups and work to build a free and stable Syria,:” he wrote. “I know that there are real concerns about providing arms to the opposition, and I understand those concerns. But the choice is not between arming and not arming. The choice is between responsibly stepping in and leaving it to others who will simply arm the extremists.”
The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons sharply criticized Menendez and the Foreign Relations Committee, warning that the senator does not understand that the “heart-breaking situation in Syria is…not nearly as vital to American national interests as” he claims.
“The al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra front is one of the few Syrian opposition operations currently making headway against Assad,” according to Clemons. “When it comes to al-Nusra in Syria, the enemy of our enemy remains our enemy — but Senator Menendez does not seem to include this group in his fantasy vision of what the Syrian resistance is comprised of.”