US Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul on Wednesday accused his own party members of directly contributing to the existence of ISIS.
The Kentucky senator was interviewed by Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” programme where he said the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.”
ISIS has been waging a violent war in the Middle East seeking to form its own state and has recently made major gains in central Iraq, adding to territory it already controls in Iraq and Syria.
“A guy who’s going to be running against you, we think - Lindsey Graham (Sen. - S.C.) would say ISIS exists because of people like Rand Paul, who said let’s not go into Syria. What do you say to Lindsey?” Scarborough, a former Republican member of House of Representatives, asked.
Paul, who favours less military intervention abroad, claimed it was not he but people like Graham helped create ISIS. “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS,” he said.
In dealing with ISIS, he said he wants coalitions of Arab troops to take the lead on the ground and get Turks to fight as well.
Paul said he is in favour of arming the Kurds [against ISIS] but that he would “get a peace treaty between the Kurds and the Turks. I would say look: the Kurds, you gotta give up any pretensions to any territory in Turkey. Turkey, let’s go ahead and get along and together wipe out ISIS.”
Rick Santorum, who just announced his presidential bid on May 27, told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that Rand’s perception was “a misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy we face.”
Santorum claimed that “ISIS didn’t come about because of … the arms that America left behind. ISIS came about because they hate everything we believe in and we stand for.”
Similarly, another GOP member and a possible candidate in the 2016 presidential race, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, said Paul’s comments were “a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief,” before claiming that “evil and radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”