- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio said that because of U.S. inaction in Syria for the past two years, a desired scenario where President Bashar Assad is toppled and replaced with a stable government “may no longer be possible.”

“If he stays in power, that’s obviously bad because it empowers Iran and so forth, but if he falls, it’s also possible it could trigger a second civil war,” the Florida Republican told CNN on Tuesday. “So we are really in a bind here, and again, directly the result of the president’s mishandling of this entire situation.”

Mr. Rubio said he’ll hear from U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry in a closed hearing Wednesday on whether the moderate rebels battling the regime of President Bashar Assad are doing better, but that he has “serious reservations” about whether that’s true. He sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, before which Mr. Kerry testified on Tuesday.

“To use a football analogy, if you’re down nine points with five seconds to go in the game, there’s not anything you can do to win the game, because there’s no such thing as a nine-point play in football,” he said. “I hate to keep going back to the same point, but we may have reached a point now where there is no good outcome possible in this conflict and again, it is the direct result of the mismanagement of this administration.”

Mr. Rubio said he believes Syria does touch on the U.S.’s national security “in vital ways,” but he’s frustrated that the country has become “hamstrung” by the options presently available “because this president chose to lead from behind for two years.”

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