December 1st, 2013
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Rogers: Obama administration 'screwed up' Syria deal

Washington (CNN) – Two and a half months after the U.S. backed off its threat to launch a bombing campaign against the Syrian regime, not everyone in Congress is happy with the easing of tensions.

In an interview that aired Sunday morning, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told CNN's Candy Crowley that the the sweeping, Russian-brokered agreement prematurely closed the door to a more wide-ranging armistice between the regime and opposition forces. The agreement requires Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by mid-2014.

"If you were ever going to get a deal for a peace deal, a cease-fire, that got screwed up," Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Rogers' criticism came amid reports the U.S. has offered to help destroy some of the most lethal parts of al-Assad's chemical stockpile.

In the immediate aftermath of the agreement, President Barack Obama praised the accord as "welcome progress" and an "important, concrete step" toward reducing violence in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation. "The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere," Obama said on September 14. "We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children."

While Rogers readily admitted that taking chemical weapons off the battlefield qualified as a success, the Michigan lawmaker insisted the administration, by not pushing harder for a cease-fire, enabled the Syrian dictator to keep killing with conventional weapons.

"They were too quick to try to get a deal," Rogers said.

He argued the U.S. negotiating team dispatched to Geneva, Switzerland, ultimately left al-Assad with "the protection of the Russian government" and an "indeterminate amount of time" to continue massacring opposition forces and civilian dissidents. Rogers said the United States, in quickly coming to terms with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, undermined its credibility with allies in the region, including the Arab League, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

But he said the most serious damage done by the agreement was that it undermined America’s credibility with moderate rebel groups fighting the Syrian regime. "The opposition felt that the United States walked away from them," he said.

Rogers' Intelligence Committee counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, did not directly criticize the Obama administration's handling of the Syria situation, but she did say the ongoing conflict - and the influx of jihadist fighters into the country - make it increasingly difficult to "separate the bad guys from the good guys."

Filed under: Mike Rogers • Obama administration • Syria
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Gh Clark

    Why would any sane person want peace in Syria!
    It is the killing ground for Al quida and Hezbollah ! Let them keep fighting.
    Rogers is so dumb

    December 1, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Removing chemical weapons is not enough for Rogers. I think most of us are a little tired of the republican war machine.

    December 1, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Huh?

    How would the people of Syria or the US benefit by dropping bombs on Syria then or now?

    December 1, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Mr. Rogers will not be happy until he gets to send several thousand more of your children over there to be placed in the meat grinder known as the middle east. Thats they only way to make lots of money.

    December 1, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Yea, and I bet their ALL obstructionist republicians!!!!!!!

    December 1, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. jay

    When you fight a revolution with weapons, when you kill government soldiers who have done nothing bit try to keep the peace, when killing innocent people going to work, or children going to school, you can expect there will be attacks on those terrorists. Good, I hope Assad wipes them out!

    December 1, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. BigD

    I guess Obama didn't want Al Quaeda to win Syria. What a stupid senator.

    December 1, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. morrie

    Rogers wants a war with Syria.

    December 1, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Evergreen

    There was never any "good side" in this conflict. Even the rebels in McCain's photo-op trip to Syria were accused of atrosities.

    December 1, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. rs

    Naturally the GOP would feel avoiding a war was a completely bad thing (THINK of the profits for Cheney's Halliburton!!!). The GOP would much rather intervene into the problems of people of other nations than say, in anyplace in America. These are the same selfish fools that held up hurricane Sandy assistance for 3 months or who tried to crash the economy back in October (and will no doubt seek to do so again next month). That ought to tell us something.

    December 1, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Max

    Obama is failure from head to toe, worst president ever;the most dishonest president , he turned the USA to an untrustworthy country ,

    December 1, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Chris

    How is it possible that the U.S. let Syria be protected by Russia? The U.S. has no control over them and their dealings with Syria.

    December 1, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. MMCinMPLS

    I think all who criticize the brokered deal, fail to realize that Assad would never deal directly with the US. There is clear animosity there, and when the Russians stepped in, it gave him the opportunity to save face with the Arab world. Clearly he cares little or nothing about his citizens, however, there is nor, was there any reason for the US to assume the failing role of policing the world. If he wants to kill them, he will, and we can't stop him.

    December 1, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Alex p

    US should never get involve in Syria. People there doesnt wan us

    December 1, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Dennis Freeman

    Anyone else tired of if it's Obama it's wrong or bad?

    December 1, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. NameEric

    How could one be so uncaring for the innocent children caught between the Jihadist & the Syrian Regime fighting & killing each other who want to just live in peace

    December 1, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. don in albuquerque

    @Chris-I realize here in the states xenophobia is a constant sate, but tell me, can you spell world war.

    December 1, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. mikeb

    When it is important enough , according to those in Congress , to invade or bomb another country , let them send in their children and grand children first , to demonstrate their real dedication to the idea . Otherwise , they need to sit down and shut up .

    December 1, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Adam

    Just tired of Obama being wrong

    December 1, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. NameFrank Deery

    Rogers is correct! From Heath Care to Syria,
    Obama's haste made waste. I don't see him or his minions, however, rushing to get those two Americans out of North Korea, one an 85 year old Korean War vet, forced to grovel
    on global tv-while Kerry's State Dept issues
    Weak-Sister "concerns".

    Bush was right about the "Axis of Evil", and, at least, he got rid of one third of them! The other two, Iran and North Korea, are having a field day thanks to Obama.

    December 1, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    @Dennis Freeman:

    I'm tired of it. We could write the script for the teapublicans. Criticize without offering solutions.

    December 1, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Jack

    GOP's are nuts. They think that only the US should negotiate deals. Being part of a negotiated settlement is also a victory, you GOP nutheads. Would also like to see how many children of the GOP's are in active duty!!

    December 1, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. ora pike

    this muslim friendly administration is beyond belief-37 times obama lied ON CAMERA-YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSURANCE-did not say-unless i think your policy does not meet the standard. what standard??? the socialistic healthcare called obamacare. stop this insanity now--80,000,000 employees will get CANCELLATION NOTICES AFTER YES AFTER next years elections. FREEDOM is being taken from us from within--our armies can stand against any army in the world but not from within--it is the rotting of Rome that we see today-when obama bowed to a muslim prince we should have impeached him then--when he lied once or 10 times or 20 we should have impeached him but 37 times just with obamacare--how about IT WAS THE VIDEO or NOBODY TOLD ME. As a vet i wonder why dad and other served our country when we see our freedom being taken away--lies and lies--now a company is being paid a million dollars to come up with success stories so the socialist obamacare can have some positive press which CNN will put on their home page instead of all the other stuff they now print to hide the truth.

    December 1, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Steve

    I am, Dennis. Republican's have lost their credibility to govern.

    December 1, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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