McCain: Obama’s ‘red line’ on Syria written in ‘disappearing ink’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President Obama's "red line" on Syria was written in "disappearing ink."

"Unfortunately, the red line that the president of the United States [has] was apparently written in disappearing ink," McCain said on "Fox News Sunday."

The Obama administration recently told Congress there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, something that Obama has referred to as a “red line.” Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to arming rebel forces in Syria who are opposing the government there.

McCain said that "in the view of most," Obama's red line had been crossed. His comments came as reports surfaced that Israeli war planes bombed the outskirts of the Syrian capital for the second time Sunday morning.

"Apparently, the Syrians and Iranians have crossed a red line with the Israelis," McCain said. "And that means that weapons of an advanced nature -- probably missiles -- have been moved from Iran into Syria with intentions of moving them to Hezbollah."

McCain said the Israeli intervention "will probably put more pressure on this administration" to act, but cautioned against deploying any U.S. troops, arguing in favor of arming the rebels and establishing a "safe zone."

"We need to have a game changing action," McCain said. "And that is no American boots on the ground, establish a safe zone, and to protect it and to supply weapons to the right people in Syria who are fighting for obviously, the things we believe in."

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) took a different view, expressing concerns about arming the rebels.

"Al-Qaeda elements have a lot of control within the rebel movement. My concern is that by arming the rebels, we could be strengthening al-Qaeda ... if we are going to arm the rebels, we have to make sure those arms are not going to  end up in the possession of al-Qaeda supporters," King said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · May 3, 2013