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Rubio to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad: You’re next, buddy

The death of Muammar al-Qaddafi today shows what’s in store for the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime, which will probably be the next group of tyrants to be thrown out of office and potentially killed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), told The Cable. "If you’re the leaders of Syria, you’re looking at today’s events ...

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The death of Muammar al-Qaddafi today shows what’s in store for the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime, which will probably be the next group of tyrants to be thrown out of office and potentially killed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), told The Cable.

"If you’re the leaders of Syria, you’re looking at today’s events as a preview of what your future may hold," Rubio said in a Thursday interview.

"I believe that dictators in that region are unsustainable," he said. "The Syrian regime is doomed and it’s just a matter of time, whether it’s weeks, months, or even a year, their position is unsustainable. The people there want a better life. They’re tired of living under this ineffective, incompetent, and repressive regime. And so, I think their days are numbered."

He called on the Obama administration to ratchet up the pressure on the Syrian government and redouble its efforts to convince other countries to do the same.

Rubio wasn’t ready to endorse the idea of an internationally imposed no-fly zone over Syria, as his colleague, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), did earlier this month in an interview with The Cable.

"There are major differences between Syria and Libya," Rubio said, claiming that the Syrian regime isn’t using planes to attack its people and the Syrian opposition hasn’t asked for an international military intervention.

"I think it’s important that if you’re assisting someone that you know who they are and that they are asking for your help," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Rubio told Fox News that the bulk of the credit for the success of the military effort in Libya belongs to the British and the French, and that if President Barack Obama had acted faster, Qaddafi’s death would have come months ago.

"It’s the French and the British that led on this fight and probably even led in the strike that led to Qaddafi’s capture and death," Rubio said."[President Obama did] the right things but he just took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it."

The death of Muammar al-Qaddafi today shows what’s in store for the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime, which will probably be the next group of tyrants to be thrown out of office and potentially killed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), told The Cable.

"If you’re the leaders of Syria, you’re looking at today’s events as a preview of what your future may hold," Rubio said in a Thursday interview.

"I believe that dictators in that region are unsustainable," he said. "The Syrian regime is doomed and it’s just a matter of time, whether it’s weeks, months, or even a year, their position is unsustainable. The people there want a better life. They’re tired of living under this ineffective, incompetent, and repressive regime. And so, I think their days are numbered."

He called on the Obama administration to ratchet up the pressure on the Syrian government and redouble its efforts to convince other countries to do the same.

Rubio wasn’t ready to endorse the idea of an internationally imposed no-fly zone over Syria, as his colleague, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), did earlier this month in an interview with The Cable.

"There are major differences between Syria and Libya," Rubio said, claiming that the Syrian regime isn’t using planes to attack its people and the Syrian opposition hasn’t asked for an international military intervention.

"I think it’s important that if you’re assisting someone that you know who they are and that they are asking for your help," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Rubio told Fox News that the bulk of the credit for the success of the military effort in Libya belongs to the British and the French, and that if President Barack Obama had acted faster, Qaddafi’s death would have come months ago.

"It’s the French and the British that led on this fight and probably even led in the strike that led to Qaddafi’s capture and death," Rubio said."[President Obama did] the right things but he just took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin