December 1st, 2013
09:00 AM ET
9 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.

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"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. J.V.Hodgson

    Every time I hear Republicans on any subject criticize this administration ( always without any kind of realistic counter proposal other than going to war I am reminded of a comical poem that fits the Republicans to a tee especially the likes of Cruz and Issa.

    One fine day in the middle of the night
    two dead men got up to fight
    Back to back they faced each other
    Drew thie sword and shot each othe

    December 1, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. CNeder

    Does Owebama ever do anything that is good for the United States or it's lawful citizens? NO.

    December 2, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  3. Name. G

    Besides criticizing everthing and obstruction what has the GOP done for the betterment of anything besides themselves?

    December 2, 2013 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  4. Name

    "Two and a half months since US president Obama backed off..."

    December 2, 2013 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  5. allsidesrbrokn

    I think should just have to put phone closely to ear even dont sense and then do everything can to offer is there need and if still resist the assistance whatever the concern within/out, between u.s. and and other countries/ then is it wise to continue put up guard til its gov. and find or come to better -maybe an understanding of its individual regime mission/ maybe the complex is that those and culture somewhat similar demographic/ they dont will stand if country invaded by other as known this back in history, showned more to other. maybe that wasnt intention. maybe its the same with u.s., been screwed up before, too. unfortunately arent all the same? find that more the face of war is everywhere even if not in battle scene or country, or in a political party such as if are republican, democrat, former vet..even if not going through this wars, still reside in economy, this tighten the value of a dollar and betray to those work hard non cit for low paying and as same time endevoring to recover endless afterma

    December 2, 2013 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  6. Marie MD

    Can we stop talking about Syria and start working on what is wrong with our country?

    December 2, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  7. eddieb

    Mr. Rodgers is another hating witch hunter.

    December 2, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  8. Chuck

    Same old crap. I am so tired of hearing about how the adminsitration screwed up. The GOP is a party of do nothings. Stop the bickering and get to work. Do something productive. Stop talking about who screwed up and offer some productive suggestions to fix our problems for once.

    December 2, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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