(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said on Thursday that he voted for the continuing resolution (CR) that includes funding to train and arm Syrians because the government has already been supporting them “for months and months.”
“I voted yes, and I would tell you that -- I kind of reject the question,” Woodall said when CNSNews.com asked whether he thought the plan would get a better result than it did with U.S. intervention in Iraq or Libya.
“It’s not that we decided to fund rebels yesterday,” Woodall said at the Heritage Foundation’s Conversations with Conservatives event. “We’ve been funding rebels for months and months and months.
“Yesterday, we just decided to do it publicly instead of doing it privately,” said Woodall, while noting that he believed the plan has “zero to 0.1” chance of succeeding.
“But hiding it from the American people and doing it anyway I would argue is the worst of all possible worlds,” Woodall said. “We took a step in the right direction yesterday by putting it on the American people’s radar screen – again, what we have been doing in private for months upon months.”
Woodall said that the funding only lasts until Dec. 11 and that its approval will spark “a robust American conversation” about how to proceed in the fight against both the Bashar al- Assad regime and the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Levant (ISIL), which has taken over large swathes of territory in both countries.
To which Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who voted no on the CR, quipped: “That’s the best argument I’ve heard for actually voting for the bill.”
According to a timeline published by the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, a quarterly journal of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at American University in Cairo, Egypt, the United States has been providing non-lethal funding and support for Syrian rebels since 2012.
A timeline in the journal states:
April 1, 2012: Friends of Syria conference in Istanbul recognizes the Syrian National Council as the representative of Syrian opposition; United States agrees to send communication equipment to rebels, while Arab nations pledge more than $100 million in financial support; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) opens the Domiz camp in Iraq for Syrians fleeing the conflict.
December 12, 2012: President Barack Obama says the United States recognizes the Syrian National Coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people; National Coalition attends Friends of Syria conference in Marrakesh.
February 28, 2013: At Friends of Syria meeting in Rome, United States pledges $60 million in medical supplies and food for rebels; Syrian National Coalition expresses disappointment over the lack of military aid.
April 21, 2013: At Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, United States pledges an additional $123 million in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.
The CR, passed by the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, included an amendment providing $500 million in Pentagon funds to equip and train the Syrian rebels.