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Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:7AM
Former US Congressman Ron Paul

Former US Congressman Ron Paul

Former US Congressman Ron Paul has sharply criticized President Barack Obama for his decision to approve arming foreign-backed militants in Syria, noting that such a move would “escalate” the ongoing crisis in the Middle Eastern country. “Today we heard from President Obama that the war in Syria will be escalated. He now has agreed to send weaponry in to assist the rebels. It’s escalation, that’s a proper word, because we’ve already been involved for quite a few months. We’ve been supporting the rebels for probably the past two years, supposedly for humanitarian reasons,” he said in a statement posted on YouTube on Friday. “But now there is going to be a much more aggressive approach and we’re going to send weapons. There is a few problems with this, first off, it’s war. Second thing is presidents are not supposed to start war without permission from the people through a congressional declaration of war,” Paul argued. He also rejected the White House allegations that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons in their battles against the militants, saying the claims are baseless. Paul said the recent accusations against Damascus resemble the lies about Iraq in 2003, when George W. Bush’s administration invaded the Arab country under allegations that slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was stocking weapons of mass destruction. US officials announced on Thursday that Obama had authorized sending weapons to the militants in Syria ‘for the first time.’ The announcement came after the White House said it has evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army forces against the militants. Syria has been gripped by unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security forces, have been killed in the violence. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants. Several international human rights organizations have accused the militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes. MP/HJL
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