Greater US involvement needed in Libya crisis, Sen. John McCain tells FRANCE 24

Text by: Marjorie PAILLON
2 min

In an exclusive interview FRANCE 24, US Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain urges the United States to provide greater support to Libyan rebels and calls Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “brutal killer”.


The United States should provide greater support in terms of training and equipment to Libya’s “liberation forces” in their uprising against leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi and need to step up air attacks against his “third-rate” military, said Republican Senator John McCain.

“The American people support the Libyan people," the former US presidential candidate told FRANCE 24’s Marjorie Paillon. "Their struggle is our struggle -- we, at one time in history, had the same kind of struggle.”

McCain, who visited the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya last week, believes the United States should provide more air support, arms and training to the “liberation forces” to end the stalemate between the rebels and Gaddafi’s army.

“Gaddafi is a third-rate military power,” he said. “I’m confident the rebels can get him out.”

As for Syria, where the government is engaging in a brutal crackdown against unprecedented anti-regime protests, McCain called for more sanctions against the government of leader Bashar al-Assad.

“Let’s not have any illusions that this guy is a reformer," McCain said of Assad. "He’s a brutal killer.”

On the US political front, McCain said he was relieved that the “birther” issue -- a reference to doubts raised by the right wing about whether US President Barack Obama was born in the United States as required of US presidents under the Constitution -- had been buried with the release on Wednesday of the president's long-form birth certificate.

“We have unemployment to deal with, and we have wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” McCain said, calling the birther issue “a silly distraction”.


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