Houston Chronicle

The White House recently announced plans to arm Syrian rebels, but Rep. Ted Poe of Humble worries that the United States won’t be able to control who will have access to the weapons.

United States intelligence agencies have reported that chemical weapons have been used against Syrian citizens by the Assad regime and that an estimated 100-150 people have lost their lives from detected chemical weapons attacks to date. The Obama administration decided to increase non-lethal assistance to the civilian opposition in the country and has authorized the expansion of United States assistance to the Supreme Military Council.

Obama argued that the use of chemical weapons crossed the red line and induces America to act, but Poe stated that America does not have a national interest in getting involved in the fight.

“The United States has made their problem our problem, and we should not be arming anybody in this conflict,” Poe said in an interview with Fox News.

Poe said that there are numerous rebel groups, including ones that involve members of al Qaeda. He also mentioned that America does not even know for sure that Assad used chemical weapons and that a possibility exists that the rebel groups used chemical weapons.

The Texas Republican does not want to repeat mistakes made in the past where American firearms end up in the wrong hands. “We’ve got ourselves in a situation just like in North Africa, the Arab Spring, and in Libya. We start arming the rebels in Libya, we get rid of Muammar Gaddafi, the rebels still have the weapons, and they are still being used in other parts of the world,” said Poe.

The conflict between religious groups in that area has taken place for many years, and Poe does not see it playing out well in the national interests of the United States. While Poe warns that arming the rebels may lead to the escalation of more United States involvement, he also recognizes that it is vital to assist the refugees in that area.