House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

House Intel Chair Wants Arab Troops To Secure Chemical Weapons

Obama's threat of war is working, says House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., but securing chemical weapons will need Arab League boots on the ground. By Sara Sorcher

Despite calling the available options to secure Syria's chemical weapons "pretty awful," House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said it was possible to transfer the country's massive stockpile to international control -- especially with Arab League troops on the ground.

"I do think you can get a good percentage of them, because the Assad regime is also worried these things could fall in the wrong hands and could be used against the regime," Rogers told the Intelligence and National Security Alliance summit on Thursday.

President Obama this week asked a wary Congress to postpone a vote authorizing force to punish Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people to pursue diplomatic options instead. These options include a resolution at the United Nations Security Council requiring Assad to place his chemical arsenal under international control to be destroyed. Syria, one of the few countries that never signed the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, is believed to have one of the largest stockpiles of these weapons in the world -- and securing and destroying them would be an arduous task even without a bloody civil war still raging.

To wade into Syria, where more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict, chemical weapons inspectors would surely need protection. Rogers insisted there's no need for U.S. boots on the ground in Syria. Instead, the Arab League is "willing to provide the support we need, including troops to go in and help secure those weapons systems, because they know how dangerous it is if it proliferates around the Levant," he said.

"So I kind of hope we shake ourselves out of this malaise and the administration regroups about how we could impact that with a plan that's meaningful and embraces our Arab League partners eager to do it," Rogers said. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey are the partners "eager" to take on the task, Rogers said.

By contrast, Rogers says no Republican or Democrat on his committee, or even the Armed Services Committees, is interested in trying to put thousands of U.S. troops on the ground. "That's nuts. It would be a horrible decision."

Even with a concerted mission to protect and destroy the chemical weapons, there are likely dangerous consequences. "We do think there's going to be some further dispersal of the chemical weapons," Rogers said. This is especially worrying because -- as ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., noted -- there are other groups who might like to get their hands on these weapons. "There's al-Qaida on one side, Hezbollah on the other."

Syria, Ruppersberger says, cannot be trusted to fully cooperate. "They have to be totally held accountable. I'm sure they're moving [their stocks] right now knowing that this is coming at this point," Ruppersberger told National Journal. "The only reason they're agreeing to anything at this point is because of the threat of power." Ruppersberger agrees Washington cannot take on this mission alone. "The United States can't be the sheriff of the whole world; it's got to be a coalition."

Sarin, the nerve agent suspected of killing hundreds of people last month and sparking Washington's call for military action, can be destroyed in a short period of time. "In the old days, it was a much more complicated process," Rogers says. By contrast, mustard gas and other weapons "are going to take a lot longer; you've got to do it with incinerators."

NEXT STORY: Putin Has the Upper Hand on Syria

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.