Report: Congressional sources say Obama admin keeping Syrian rebel leader out of DC


See report from Foreign Policy Magazine below and post your thoughts…

Obama Admin Keeping Syrian Rebel Leader Out of DC, Congressional Sources Say
By John Hudson & David Kenner, Foreign Policy

As skepticism mounts in Congress over a proposed military strike in Syria, hawks on Capitol Hill are questioning why the Obama administration isn’t using one of its most powerful advocates for intervention: General Salim Idriss, commander of the rebels’ Supreme Military Council.

Long heralded as the poster child for Syria’s moderate rebels, Idriss has yet to travel to Washington to make his case for U.S. intervention — and it’s not for lack of trying. Congressional sources and members of the Syrian opposition tell The Cable that the Obama administration has delayed or cancelled at least three scheduled trips for Idriss to come to Washington since March.

“The White House has stepped in at the eleventh hour to cancel planned trips in which tickets were bought and hotels were booked for Gen. Idriss to come to Washington,” a frustrated Congressional aide tells The Cable. “It’s beyond me why the administration is trying to prevent a very articulate person from answering the fundamental question that almost every lawmaker wants to know: Who the Hell is the opposition?”

A German-trained engineer with moderate views, Idriss has attracted the West with his nonsectarian outlook ever since he defected from the Assad regime last summer.

To trip planners in the Syrian opposition, the State Department keeps coming up with new excuses to call off planned trips. In March, Idriss sent letters to U.S. officials asking for night vision goggles, humanitarian aid and training. Afterwards, the department blocked a trip to Washington telling opposition leaders it didn’t want to the bring the opposition’s military leaders to Washington before welcoming its political leaders, such as Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. In late June, after the administration determined that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the rebels, the department blocked another planned trip. “We were told that they didn’t want Idriss to come yet because they didn’t think they could send him back with anything [i.e. weapons]” said a Syrian opposition source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.