Kerry: Arabs will pay for Syria war

Kerry: Arabs will pay for Syria war
Thu Sep 5, 2013 09:15:50

Some Arab nations have offered to help pay for any US military strikes on Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers Wednesday as he sought support for missile strikes.

"With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the cost and to assist, the answer is profoundly yes, they have. That offer is on the table," Kerry said as he appeared before a House of Representatives panel.

The offer was "quite significant," he said.

"Some of them (Arab regimes) have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we've done it previously in other places, they'll carry that cost. That's how dedicated they are to this."

But he stressed: "Obviously, that is not in the cards and nobody is talking about it, but they are talking about taking seriously getting this job done."

He was appearing before the House Foreign Affairs committee on the second day of the administration's blitz on Capitol hill to persuade lawmakers to approve military strikes.

Washington has allegedly led charges that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unleashed sarin gas on August 21 against the residents of a Damascus suburb.

But in a sign of the depth of opposition  involvement in Syria, anti-war demonstrators held up red-stained hands behind Kerry's head in a silent protest during his testimony.

Lawmakers are now drafting a resolution to go before Congress which would give the US administration a 60-day deadline for military intervention, which could be extended once for 30 more days. It would also bar any American boots on the ground.

Asked if the time limit was acceptable to administration, Kerry said it would be preferable to have "a trigger in there" if Assad used chemical weapons again.


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