- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that arming Syrian rebels is a bad idea, and parliamentary leaders ought to think long and hard before acting.

“The risks would be incalculable,” she said in an address to Parliament, The Associated Press reported.

Ms. Merkel also said she understands the views of Britain, France and the United States, and why the three countries would want to arm rebel fighters and help oust President Bashar Assad. But the same reasons don’t apply in Germany, she said, AP reported.

At the same time, Ms. Merkel didn’t elaborate on what she mean by “incalculable” risks — though one frequently cited objection to the arming of rebels deals with the potential to drag out the fighting and spill it into neighboring countries.

Another objection: Arms that are provided to rebel fighters could be taken by Islamist extremists who might use them against the West.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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