Posted on October 22, 2012 in Campaign Statements
"Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel. And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. Number two, seeing a — a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us. And finally, we don't want to have military involvement there. We don't want to get drawn into a military conflict.
And so the right course for us, is working through our partners and with our own resources, to identify responsible parties within Syria, organize them, bring them together in a — in a form of — if not government, a form of — of — of council that can take the lead in Syria. And then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. We do need to make sure that they don't have arms that get into the — the wrong hands. Those arms could be used to hurt us down the road. We need to make sure as well that we coordinate this effort with our allies, and particularly with — with Israel...
We need to have a very effective leadership effort in Syria, making sure that the — the insurgent there are armed and that the insurgents that become armed, are people who will be the responsible parties. Recognize — I believe that Assad must go. I believe he will go. But I believe — we want to make sure that we have the relationships of friendship with the people that take his place, steps that in the years to come we see Syria as a — as a friend, and Syria as a responsible party in the Middle East."