Discuss as:

Talking Libya and Syria

In light of House Republicans meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss a strategy to end U.S. involvement in Libya, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said progress has been made, while also defending the United States' lack of action in response to the rise of violence in Syria.

"NATO is clearly in charge, as it should be, and the president adroitly allowed us to set the stage but then to give responsibility to NATO" Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said.

He added, "It looks as if Khaddafy's hold is weakening,"citing the recent defection of Shokri Ghanem, Libya's top official in the oil and gas sector.

When asked about the United States' lack of response to Syrian violence, Reed said it is important to remember that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces a much different situation when dealing with Syria because with Libya, the United States had the "political support of the United Nations and of the Arab League." 

Since the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League have not provided their support for taking greater action in Syria, "it's a hard to pull the international forces together," said the senator.

Forcing out Syria's President Basher al-Assad is unlikely, according to Reed, because "we didn't force out the Tunisian leader. We didn't force out Mubarak." Rather, it was the conditions on the ground that forced Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Though the United States may not play a role in the ouster of President Assad, Reed is hopeful the Syrian president will step down.

The series of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt was "a truly popular and unpredictable sequence of events. And those events seem to be moving against Assad at this point," the senator stated.