Republican Party presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told CNN on Thursday that he was “amazed” that the Obama Administration had only just begun to consider intervention in Syria. “It is definitely in our interest to get rid of Assad as a dictator,” he said, “because he is an ally of Iran.”
“We frankly want to get him replaced if we can,” Gingrich added, referring to President Bashar al-Assad who has for more than eleven months deployed force against an increasingly violent revolt in his country.
The former House speaker, who is struggling to draw conservative voters to his presidential campaign, criticized his government for what he perceived as a failure to support the Syrian opposition.
You would have thought, by now, they would have covertly worked with our allies in the region to be funneling all sorts of assets into the rebels.
There were reports last year that the United States actually helped Saudi Arabia smuggle satellite phones into Syria after the regime there had received help from Tehran in disrupting telephone communications to frustrate the rebels’ ability to coordinate demonstrations.
Several Republican lawmakers in the United States advocated supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition this week to tilt the balance of what is now a civil war in their favor. Gingrich stopped short of endorsing these calls from within his own party. “Weapons in that part of the world aren’t hard to get,” he said.
Gingrich previously pushed for intervention in Iran when he told a presidential forum in South Carolina in November that the United States should consider “taking out their scientists” and “breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable” before weighing military options against a country that Western powers suspect is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capacity.
In New Hampshire a month later, Gingrich rejected airstrikes as a “fantasy” however. “It would be a gigantic mess, with enormous collateral civilian casualties,” he predicted Because Iran’s nuclear sites are scattered across a country that is more than twice the size of Texas, a bombing campaign would likely have to be protracted and invite Iranian retaliation against American bases in the Persian Gulf or Israel.
Nevertheless, the Republican candidate supported steps toward regime change in Tehran which he believes is the only way of keeping the Islamic nation free of nuclear weapons.