Just back from a trip to Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank, Rubio said he talked to Israelis concerned about what Mr. Obama’s intends to do when he visits Israel in March. He said he told them “that it’s my sense the president is coming more to listen than to dictate” on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace. And he said he believed that, at this point, with Iran and other regional security issues topping Israel as a priority, that such a stance is the right one for the president.
On Syria, Rubio demonstrated a command of the complexities of the civil war and laid out a plan of action that sounded closer to where the White House appears to be headed than to some of his more hawkish Republican colleagues. He suggested providing more nonlethal supplies to the rebels.
“I’m uncomfortable if we’re doing anything to escalate violence,” he said.
Rubio said the problem in Syria is not so much the opposition’s access to weapons as it is the fact that “the best-armed [rebels] are the most radical ones, the most anti-American ones.” To help level the rebel playing field, one step would be to provide “responsible groups” not with weapons, but with the ammunition they need for the weapons they have, he said.
On Iran, Rubio said he would like to see a “breakthrough” in the negotiations the US and other world powers have under way with Tehran on its nuclear program. But he doesn’t hold out much hope, saying he believes that “the negotiations are nothing but a ploy to buy time” for the Iranian regime to make progress toward building a nuclear weapon.