September 11th, 2013
08:12 PM ET
9 years ago

McCaul: 50% of Syrian opposition are 'bad actors'

(CNN) - Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, reiterated his opposition to military involvement in Syria on Wednesday and raised questions about the rebel force.

McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that he's seen intelligence in briefings that shows half of the Syrian opposition has extremist elements.

His comments stand in contrast to numbers given by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said 15% to 25% of Syrian rebels are "bad guys."

"I just don't agree that a majority are al Qaeda and the bad guys," Kerry said last week in response to a question by McCaul at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

While the Syrian rebels are fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, they're arranged in different factions, each with its own agenda, experts say. Some are allied with al Qaeda.

Syria's rebels: 20 things you need to know

Kerry argued there is a "real moderate opposition that exists."

Several lawmakers who oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria, however, have raised concerns about associating with the rebels.

By attacking Syria, the United States would be essentially siding with the opposition and therefore siding with groups like al Qaeda, some argue.

"There are no good sides in this war, no good options," McCaul said. "I don't think we should be arming and supporting al Qaeda in this effort."

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mike McCaul
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    I agree with McCaul. Now the issue is: we have had time and money for corporations and war, just when is Congress going to do something for American constituents and citizens? Been waiting years and years now.

    September 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. rs

    While McCaul is probably wrong with that factoid (he's a Republican from Texas, so it follows that he's made it up or taken it out of context), he makes a good point about operating in the Middle East. Today's "friends" are tomorrow's "enemies", and the line between sometimes is very thin.This points out why any policy in the ME cannot simply be reactionary, it has to be proactive- and that can be hard to get right.

    September 11, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. S. B. Stein

    There are no good sides, but there are sides that are less bad groups. We need to focus on those less bad groups of people.

    September 11, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Thomas

    It's a civil war . And it's going to get worse , always confusion before clarity !

    September 12, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. king

    why the repubs always come up with some figures that no one else has. they are like gasoline to their base, because they know that anything they breath their fanatic will believe, especially if obama is involved

    September 12, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  6. Marie MD

    It's a Catch 22. Assad bad – rebels also bad.
    Leave them to fix their own problems.
    Executing the enemy on video? Those are the good guys??

    September 12, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |