Thursday, March 10, 2016

General Tapped for Central Command Opposes No-Fly Zone in Syria

Gen. Joseph Votel, who has been nominated to take command of U.S. Central Command, told lawmakers Wednesday that he did not support establishing a no-fly zone to protect Syrian refugees.
Votel, the outgoing commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, testified at a March 9 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Thomas also testified at the hearing for his nomination to become the next commander of SOCOM.
Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the committee, asked Votel if he supported using U.S. air power to protect Syrian refugees fleeing from their war-torn country.
"Do you believe that perhaps we should have a no-fly zone in order for refugees to have some place to go besides going to Europe where basically they are being shut out now as we speak?" the senator asked.
McCain has been a long-time advocate of establishing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria.
Votel, who asked for a chance to explain, said, "Mr. Chairman, reluctantly my answer is no. First of all, I share in your concern and the committee's concern on the humanitarian disaster that is in place.
"That said, as I have looked at what the potential options are, I have to do a more complete look at the assessment of those to ensure that they will achieve the end states that we truly desire and if confirmed I commit to do that."