SCOTTSDALE, AZ (KOLD) - Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, on Sunday night warned Syria and Iran not to underestimate forces of change in the Islamic world.
McCain, speaking to the 2011 AIPAC Summit at the Scottsdale Princess Resort, said Syrian President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissidents looks like ousted Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi's failed battle against rebels in the north African nation.
"This is increasingly the question about Syria," McCain said. "The Assad regime has spilled too much blood to stay in power. Its days are numbered, but it will use those days to murder more of its own people. In this way, there is no moral distinction whatsoever between the case of Syria and that of Libya.
"The Assad regime should not assume that it can get away indefinitely with mass murder. Gadhafi made that mistake, and it cost him everything," McCain said.
Assad warned Sunday the Middle East will burn if the West intervenes in his country's 7-month-old uprising. He threatened to turn the region into "tens of Afghanistans."
Assad's comments, published in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph, were his harshest so far regarding the potential for foreign intervention. But they belie a growing concern over the possibility of some sort of Western military action after months of NATO airstrikes helped Libyans unseat and kill Gadhafi.
"Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground, you will cause an earthquake," Assad said. "Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?"
McCain said Iran's plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States on American soil reminded the world of the Iranian threat.
"Their plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington has only reminded us of the threat posed by this regime -- how it is killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting violent groups across the region, destabilizing Arab countries, propping up the Assad regime, seeking nuclear weapons, and trampling on the dignity of its own people," McCain said.
"No issue unifies Americans, and their representatives in Congress, more than the need to protect our friends, our allies, and our interests from the comprehensive threat posed by the Iranian regime. No one should test our resolve on this matter."
Includes information from The Associated Press.
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