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Syrian Rebel Commander Idris Prepared to Testify to Congress

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
September 3, 2013
Defense One


Intervention backers are considering bringing Salim Idris, the former Syrian army general heading the rebel Free Syrian Army's military efforts, to Washington to make his case to Congress in person. While no final decisions have yet been made, the idea is that hearing directly from Idris and from Ahmed al-Jarba, the Syrian National Coalition's newly elected political leader, could help to win over lawmakers.

Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that Idris "is prepared" to travel to Washington to lobby members of Congress to take military action against the Assad regime. During Tuesday's hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said Idris is currently in Germany to talk to lawmakers there, and will head to London next to meet with members of the British Parliament, which voted down military action against Syria last week.

A series of congressional briefings is scheduled for the coming days involving the Pentagon and the State Department, among others. The approach is "all hands on deck" with talking points flying about among offices; the administration is working hard to be as accessible as possible to lawmakers who remain skeptical of any intervention anywhere and want to see all the assembled evidence.

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