McCain Hopes to Arm Libyan Rebels

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) told CBS News yesterday that with a no-fly zone in place, momentum “in the fighting between the Muammar Qaddafi regime and rebel fighters can now swing back to anti-Qaddafi forces, but acknowledges they will need more weapons and better training.”

McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS’ "The Early Show" that he hopes the United States, or others in the international community, supplies rebels with arms, as it once did insurgents fighting the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

[…]

"If the goal then is to get him out, does that ultimately mean that the U.S. could end up arming the rebels to help make that happen?" [anchor Erica] Hill asked.

"I think that that’s very possible – in fact, I hope so, that if not the U.S., through other countries," McCain said. "There [are] already reports that the Egyptians have been supplying them with some weapons.

"By the way it does take time – it did during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan – but we were able to provide them with some weapons and wherewithal to cause the Russians to leave Afghanistan. So we can do it.”

"Not only giving them weapon, but it also requires some training. Hopefully some more of Qaddafi’s army will come over to the side of the rebels. But for a long period of time, the momentum was clearly on the side of the anti-Qaddafi forces. Then obviously they were pushed back with the effective use of air power, among other things, including weaponry and better training. Now I believe that we can get the momentum reversed back in the other direction.”

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Filed under Interviews, Libya

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