As the death toll in Syria continued to rise, President Obama again called for new leadership in Syria. He said that the international community would continue to maintain pressure and is “looking for every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents in Syria.” Obama’s remarks about President Bashar al-Assad came two days before a referendum on a new constitution (Reuters) that could keep Assad in power until 2028. U.S., European, and Arab officials met in Tunisia (FoxNews) Friday to try to forge a unified strategy to push Assad from power.
GOP candidate Ron Paul, in Oklahoma City Saturday, cautioned against arming rebels opposed to Assad’s regime. He took a similar stance with regards to Iran, saying that striking at the country militarily would be reckless. “I believe in non-interventionism,” said Paul. During last week’s GOP debate in Arizona, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich advocated for using allies and other outside groups to arm the Syrian rebellion.
Romney said on Fox News Sunday that the United States should focus on helping Afghanistan build up (TheHill) “its own military and security forces” so they can “maintain the sovereignty of their government from an attack from the Taliban. “We do not want to see Afghanistan once again return to a Taliban dominated nation with al Qaeda and other training camps coming into the nation,” he added. The remarks come as NATO continues to grapple with a wave of violence sparked by the accidental burning of Qurans in the country.
Speaking in California, a state with the highest gas prices in the nation, Gingrich said that his energy plan, which reduces barriers for domestic production, including offshore drilling, would produce “about $16 trillion in royalties in the next generation” as well as create at least 8 million new jobs (SFChronicle). “The president of the United States has enormous capacity to enable the increased production of American oil and American gas,” Gingrich said on NPR over the weekend, referring to the power to regulate. He added, “If the U.S. goes back to being the largest producer of oil in the world, it will almost certainly bring down the price of oil.”
The remarks come partially in response to President Obama’s defense of his energy policies last Thursday.
—Liriel Higa, Contributing Editor