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ICC Note: As the United States weighs its options for military intervention in Syria, the protection of the Syrian people and specifically the Christians in Syria is a major issue of concern. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) acknowledges, both sides in the conflict have  a terrible record on human rights. The regime of President Bashar al-Assad had provided some minimal level of protection for Christians during his rule. Those fighting against Assad, and particularly those elements that have ties to Islamic extremist groups such as Al Qaeda have directly targeted Christians and committed numerous atrocities against them. 
By Christina Wilkie
9/01/2013 Syria (Huffington Post) – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday portrayed the current conflict in Syria as one between the government of President Bashar Al Assad, who Paul said “has protected Christians for a number of decades,” and “Islamic rebels,” who Paul said “have been attacking Christians” and are aligned with Al Qaeda.
“I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians, and all of a sudden we’ll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Paul was likely referring to a string of incidents in Egypt in recent weeks, where supporters of the deposed government of former president Mohamed Morsi have burned Coptic Christian churches to protest what they see as Christian backing for the military overthrow of Morsi’s government.
Earlier on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that tissue samples from Syria showed evidence that sarin gas was used to kill at least 1,400 civilians outside Damascus on August 21 — an attack the White House says Assad’s government carried out.
Paul, a first-term senator and vocal opponent of U.S. intervention overseas, including U.S. foreign aid, said the U.S. should pursue a negotiated settlement where “Assad is gone, but some of the same people [from Assad’s regime] remain stable,” because, he said, “that would also be good for the Christians.”
Paul urged the U.S. to engage more fully with Russia and China, the two permanent members of the UN Security Council which support Assad. Both countries have thus far promised to veto any UN-led intervention in Syria. Paul acknowledged, however, that Assad is not a U.S. ally, either.
Paul also said that U.S. intervention would imperil U.S. allies in the region, including Jordan and Israel. Paul said he’d like to ask John Kerry, “‘Do you think if it’s more likely or less likely that we’ll have less refugees in Jordan or if Israel will suffer an attack” if the U.S. decided to strike Syrian military targets.

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