On Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa: Sen. McCain Discusses Syria

Sen. John McCain is interviewed by Radio Sawa's Lamia Rezgui.
Sen. John McCain is interviewed by Radio Sawa’s Lamia Rezgui.

Springfield, Va. — During recent interviews with Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) discussed the situation in Syria, saying the United States stands with opposition forces who crave freedom.

Speaking with Radio Sawa, McCain addressed the Arab League’s decision not to call on Syrian President Assad to step down. He also discussed President Assad’s comments that he supported U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s plan, as long as it also ensured that the opposition also commits to stopping the violence.

In the Alhurra interview, McCain also focused on Syria, saying Annan’s plan is completely out of touch with reality and that Annan wants to keep Assad in power. He added that the Syrian opposition is fighting for freedom and needs the backing of the U.S. and other free nations

Sen. John McCain is interviewed by Alhurra TV's Rana Abtar
Sen. John McCain is interviewed by Alhurra TV’s Rana Abtar.

During an earlier interview with Alhurra, McCain discussed the situation in Syria, calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a war criminal. The following are excerpts of his interview:

McCain on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

I am sure he would not listen, but he is now in the view of any objective observers an international war criminal.  He is a war criminal.  And he should be facing criminal charges in the international criminal court because of his actions in massacring his own people.

McCain on coalition forces to stop the bloodshed in Syria:

There is a civil war and a very unfair one going on now, with Russian arms and Iranian arms and Iranians fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad. Now what I am calling for is for a coalition, not the United States by itself but a coalition, of likeminded countries including some Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, UAE and others, joining together and bringing air power to bear, because that’s the only way you can stop the tanks and artillery. The massacre goes on and it’s an unfair fight and these people are struggling for freedom. They deserve freedom and we should not stand by while they are being massacred all over the country.

McCain on the U.S.’s role to stop massacres in other countries:

I think that we should remember that in Bosnia in the 90’s and Kosovo, where ethnic cleansing and massacres were going on under President Clinton. We sent in our military and we stopped it. We wish we had stopped in Rwanda, which we didn’t. We can, the strongest nation militarily in the world, if we can’t take out the Syrian defenses, than my taxpayers have wasted a whole lot of money.

McCain on those who say that if you arm the Syrian opposition it will lead to weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda:

Whenever people are fighting and dying, there always are critics of those that want to help, by inventing ways that you can’t do it. I hear it every time. I heard it in Egypt. I heard it in Libya. I heard it in Tunisia. I heard it in Bosnia. I heard it in Kosovo. But when people are struggling for their freedom and are willing to die for it, how many more have to die? Seven thousand-five hundred apparently have already died. Does it take 10,000 more?  Or 20,000 more to stop this butcher from massacring his own people? It is a fundamental belief of the United States of America that all of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights and when people are struggling with them, we should assist them.

McCain on the Syrian People:

Our hearts and our prayers go out to them.  So many young people have died in the cause of freedom. And I would do everything in my power to see this massacre stops.  And I believe that we can do that, because I think that the world is outraged by Bashar al-Assad’s massacre of his own people.  It may not be easy, but I am confident that overtime they will prevail and we are with them.  It matters to them to know that the people of the Arab world and the entire world are on their side.

Recent surveys by international research companies such as ACNielsen show that Alhurra has consistently averaged approximately 26 million weekly viewers for the last three years.  Alhurra is operated by the non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN).  MBN is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency.  The BBG serves oversight and as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters.

Contact:  Deirdre Kline
Director of Communications
Middle East Broadcasting Networks