Assad

Capitol Ink | Heir Apparent

John McCain Pokes 'Defiance of Reality' on Syria
Arizona Republican suggests Assad emboldened by Trump administration

Sen. John McCain says the Trump administration's statements about Syria likely set the stage for the chemical weapons attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ ROLL CALL

The White House stopped short Tuesday of saying a chemical weapons attack in Syria constitutes a “red line” requiring a U.S. response, even as a prominent Senate Republican suggested the Trump administration’s posture toward Bashar al-Assad likely emboldened the Syrian strongman.

White House Cautious on 'Fragile' Syrian Cease-Fire

Syrian refugees walk after a failed attempt to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on Thursday. (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House is playing a long game in Syria amid a fragile cease-fire, but critics say its patient approach is emboldening Russia.  

Obama administration officials are both pleased with and cautious about a six-day-old cessation of violence agreement in the civil war-torn country.  

Saudi, UAE Forces Likely Too 'Stretched' to Fight Islamic State

Members of Iraqi pro-government forces ride atop their vehicle on the outskirts of Ramadi on Wednesday after they took back the area from ISIL forces. (Photo by MOADH AL-DULAIMI/AFP/Getty Images)

Key U.S. allies in the Middle East could be stretched too thin militarily to provide the ground combat troops the Obama administration, Republican lawmakers and experts agree are needed to defeat the Islamic State.  

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week both signaled a willingness to send elite commandos to Iraq and Syria. But an Obama administration official on Friday said those forces likely would only assist American troops with providing training and advice to local forces there.