Syria: Obama Receives Backing from the Speaker of the US House of Representatives

on Friday, September 6, 2013

President Barack Obama won crucial support from key Congressional leaders of both Republican and Democratic parties. The support is a direct reflection of his efforts in selling his plan to militarily strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

On Tuesday, President Obama, with intense lobbying efforts, met Congressional leaders who included the speaker of the Republican controlled house, John A. Boehner. After the meeting, Obama sent two senior cabinet ministers to Capitol Hill in order to present his case before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

After his meeting with Obama in the Oval office with Nancy Elosy, the Democratic House minority leader and Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader among others present, Boehner said that he would support the president. However, both parties that are opposed to any involvement in another messy war, a guarantee is not in hand as to whether or not the Congress would approve military action in Syria when it comes back from its summer break, slotted for September 9, this is despite the support from the top party leaders.

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on a resolution that would give President Obama the authority needed to carry out a strike against Syria. The resolution would be given for a 60-day period, in addition to one 30-day extension. The agreement also makes it clear that there would be no US boots on the ground.

Robert Menendez, the Foreign Relations Chairman said that they are one step closer to granting Obama the authority to act in their national security interest. After the meeting, Obama went to St. Petersburg, Russia, to attend the G-20 summit. While in the area, he would also try to win international support for punitive strikes against Syria.

On Wednesday, the Senate panel will take up a bipartisan bill which will authorize the use of force in Syria; the bill was revised to address some of the concerns that were expressed during Tuesday’s hearing.
John Kerry; the Secretary of State, Gen. Martin Dempsey; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chuck Hagel; Defense Secretary all faced tough questions from members of the Senate panel.

According to Kerry, Obama isn’t asking the United States to go to war, he is only asking to “degrade and deter” the capacity of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to launch another chemical attack.

Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel said that any military action would be limited in duration and scope, and would not aim to settle the Syrian civil war by force. Hagel testified that the administration’s proposal wouldn’t authorize strikes outside Syria, which strikes would go against any nonstate group or any other government.

Dempsey replied “yes” to a question that was asked of him, which question was to ascertain whether or not any strike on Syria was aimed at degrading the government’s ability to launch a chemical weapons attack in addition to deterring any future use of the said poisons, and whether the strikes would diminish to some broader extent the Assad military’s abilities.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Security Council members to come together and develop an appropriate response in the event that the allegations to the use of the said weapons prove to be true.

Ban Ki-moon told reporters that the issue is larger than the conflict in Syria, and it is about their collective responsibility to mankind. He also said that all decisions are done within the structure of the UN Charter.

He said that he wanted to prevent future uses of chemical weapons, and that they should the impact of any punitive measure on efforts to prevent further bloodshed and facilitate a political resolution of the conflict.
Ban said that the use of force is only lawful when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and/or when the Security action approves.

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