2013 FPI Forum: The Crisis in Syria

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The Crisis in Syria

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Moderated by David Ignatius, Associate Editor and Columnist, Washington Post

What Defense Does America Need?
Rudy deLeon, Center for American Progress and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense
Amb. Eric Edelman, FPI Board Director and former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, Center for Naval Analyses and former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer)
Moderator: Bradley Peniston, Editor, Armed Forces Journal - See more at: http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/2013forum#sthash.6JhuIyYH.dpuf

Video  |  Audio  |  Key Quotes  |  Transcript


Key RUSH Quotes

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) on foreign fighters in Syria: “The numbers of foreign fighters exceeds the number of foreign fighters that we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan… [T]hat sheer number alone should give you pause.  By the way, when it is over, these people will be combat trained and combat hardened, and they are going to want to go home, which means we are going to have a wave of individuals who are committed [and] who have training that we have not seen before in Europe, and by the way, the United States as well.”
Rep. Rogers on U.S. national security interests in Syria: “Our national security interests in Syria were very clear to many of us from the beginning.  [Y]ou have a place that has aided and abetted—and the estimates are as high as 600 through cutouts, Iranian cutouts through Syria in Iraq, taking the lives of 600 soldiers—this was a proxy state for a nation that was causing bad behavior in the region, including by the way, trying to kill the Saudi ambassador in the U.S. capital.” 
Rep. Rogers on safe havens in Syria:  “Why is it in our national security interest today, even more than two years ago? You have a safe haven developing in the east of Syria along the Iraqi border where they are talking about conducting external operations, which is exactly what happened in Afghanistan, which led to 9/11.... We said after 9/11: no more safe havens, we are never going to allow it.  What we have happening in Syria today is the development of maybe the largest safe haven, without our ability to conduct operations, that we have ever seen. That should concern all of us.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) on U.S. foreign policy:  “I think, wherever possible, foreign policy should be bipartisan.  I think it strengthens us, it strengthens our president, whoever he or she may be, and I think it is very important we keep it in bipartisan fashion.”
Rep. Engel on Syria-Iran ties: “I think the Iranians were watching very carefully how the Syria option played out in the United States. I think it was obvious that the United States is war weary and I think that they watched us very carefully.  That’s one of the reasons I was for striking Syria, because I believe that Assad has essentially turned himself into Iran’s proxy in Syria.”
Rep. Engel on the current round of Iran nuclear negotiations: “I am for an agreement, but I want a good agreement.  No agreement, in my opinion, is better than a bad agreement.  And again to the president’s credit, he continues to say all options are on the table.  Negotiations that are going on now, I support them, but I obviously believe that time is of the essence, and the Iranian are masters at playing for time.  I think we should know, frankly within the next few weeks, if they are serious or if they are trying to string us along.”



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