Sen. Robert Menendez (D – NJ), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced a bill that will explicitly allow for the arming of Syrian rebel factions. This follows last week’s Obama Administration commits admitting that they are considering doing so.
The bill would do several other things as well, including imposing additional sanctions and creating a $250 million “fund” aimed at helping fund the initial transition to a rebel government after regime change.
The bill also gives lip-service to removing 2003 sanctions after the regime change is finished, but makes several demands of the not-yet-in-power new regime with regards to “cooperating” with the international community.
Menendez cited the allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use, insisting it “crossed a red line,” and also insisted that imposing regime change in Syria would be a “strategic setback” for Iran. The bill includes accusations that Syria’s forces used sarin, but did not address UN reports that the only chemical weapons use in Syria appears to have been by the very rebels he proposes arming.