Franklin Graham to Obama: Stay Out of Syrian Conflict

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, urges him to not send military aid to the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, arguing that those rebels are just as evil as Assad.

"Giving guns to the opposition will prolong the war; and unfortunately, the opposition is no better than the present government – in some ways it may even be worse," Graham wrote in the letter dated June 14. "Mr. President, I would strongly urge you to keep America out of the Syrian conflict. In my opinion, the best thing that we can do is to help bring both sides to the negotiating table."

The White House recently announced it would provide small arms to some of the rebel groups fighting Assad after it was discovered that Assad had used chemical weapons.

Samaritan's Purse is an international aid organization. As president of that organization, Graham noted that he has been to Syria many times and worked with Christian churches there.

Graham also drew a comparison with the civil war in Sudan. In Sudan, he noted, the United States did not arm the "freedom fighters" in the South but did help negotiate a peace settlement.

"Why don't we follow the same approach in Syria?" Graham asked.

In Sudan, Graham wrote, the fight between the mostly Christian South and the Islamic government in the North is one that is clearly "good against evil." But in Syria, the battle lines are not that clear.

"The opposition that you want to arm is guilty of atrocities not only against their fellow Muslims, but they are also guilty of atrocities against the Christian community across the country," he wrote.