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Aderholt believes getting too involved in Syria is 'playing with fire'

Above: Congressman Robert Aderholt discusses Syria on the Matt Murphy Show

On Matt Murphy’s radio show on 100 WAPI in Birmingham on Tuesday, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) explained why he is reluctant to support any U.S. actions in Syria, most notably citing concerns about who the United States would be arming against current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“I’m still not convinced that we need to be too involved in Syria,” Aderholt said. “I know the president has recently made the decision because of the chemical weapons, and certainly that is disturbing… But my concern is the rebel factions that are over there… I just know that some of the players in that part of the world would make Bashar Assad look like a good guy.”

Aderholt explained that his familiarity with the current Syrian regime dates back to 2007 when he visited the country to meet with Assad. Aderholt was criticized at the time for making the controversial trip with Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Joe Pitts. He defended the trip, saying it was to lobby Assad to keep terrorists from crossing the border into Iraq.

“Certainly [Assad] is not a good guy,” Aderholt continued. “We know what he is, but certainly he has not attacked the United States and certainly he has not been as evil as some of the people. Again, I’m not defending the guy — I want to make that perfectly clear. But my concern is what comes after him and some of these rebel groups that we would be arming.”

Aderholt did not criticize President Barack Obama, as some of his colleagues on Capitol Hill have in the past two weeks, for not being more proactive with the Syrian situation.

“Hopefully the president has better information,” Aderholt continued. “And hopefully he knows ways to get the rebels that are the good kind of rebels the equipment that need and keep the bad guys away from it. But again, I think you’re playing with fire in that area and you need to move slowly. I have not been critical of the president for moving slowly on this, as some Republicans have. Some Republicans have said we should have been in there a long time ago.”

The nine-term Republican congressman said there are lessons to be learned from the results of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s removal from power in Egypt.

“One good example is the situation in Egypt — and I was very critical of Mubarak and some of the things he was doing, especially discrimination among the Christians,” Aderholt added. “But you know, I think discrimination as opposed to the persecution of Christian communities now that we see is even worse. So, I think that should be a lesson to us.”

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