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May 19, 2013 4:00 am

Stephen Harper Defends Support of Israel, Questions Arming Syrian Rebels

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Israel “the one stable, democratic ally in this part of the world” and expressed frustration with lack of current support for the Jewish state on a visit to New York City on Thursday. He also criticized the idea of arming Syrian rebels in an effort to help defeat the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

“There’s nothing more shortsighted in Western capitals in our time than the softening of support we’ve seen for Israel around the globe,” Harper said, according to the Associated Press. “We should not fool ourselves about what’s happening in Syria.” because there is “brutality and extremism on both sides… To start talking about arming unnamed people whose objectives we don’t understand, I think, is extremely risky,” he said.

Harper’s words came just a week after a video of a Syrian rebel commander appeared online showing him cutting the body of a dead soldier and biting into his heart, Reuters reported. When asked to explain his actions, the rebel commander had said the man’s phone contained video clips of him raping women, burning bodies and cutting off people’s limbs.

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