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Friday, January 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama was set on Monday to step up his high-stakes lobbying campaign to win over skeptical lawmakers to back military action against Syria.

The strategy, outlined by a senior White House official, came as Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington had proof the Damascus regime used sarin gas in a deadly attack on August 21.

But Russia said it was totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the United States and its allies of an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus that the West says was perpetrated by the regime.

“What we were shown before and most recently by our American partners as well the British and the French absolutely does not convince us,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, adding there were “many doubts” about images of the alleged attack posted on the Internet.

Arab League foreign ministers urged the United Nations and international community to take “deterrent” action, and blamed the regime for the alleged chemical weapons assault.

And a defiant President Bashar al-Assad insisted that Syria would confront any military action.

With all eyes on Washington, Obama — as well as Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough — made individual calls to members of Congress Sunday, according to the official. More are planned for Monday, a federal holiday.

That came on top of a classified briefing held on Capitol Hill late Sunday. More meetings, at the White House, are planned for select members of Congress over the coming two days.

On the heels of Obama’s surprise announcement, the White House formally asked Congress on Saturday for authorization to conduct strikes in a draft resolution framing a narrow set of operations.

But it remains to be seen if war-weary lawmakers will endorse Obama’s push for action — or hand him a bitter defeat. Many, including influential Republican Senator John McCain, remain unsure they can support the White House resolution.

“In all calls and briefings, we will be making the same fundamental case: the failure to take action against Assad unravels the deterrent impact of the international norm against chemical weapons use, and it risks emboldening Assad and his key allies — Hezbollah and Iran — who will see that there are no consequences for such a flagrant violation of an international norm,” the senior White House official said.

“Anyone who is concerned about Iran and its efforts in the region should support this action.”

Pushing the administration’s argument for limited military action, Kerry told U.S. television talk shows that hair and blood samples given to the U.S. from emergency workers on the scene of the attack showed signs of the powerful sarin nerve gas.

A key U.S. ally, however, suggested that limited strikes were not the way to go.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo

33 Responses to Obama Lobbies Skeptical Lawmakers To Support Syria Strike

  1. The choice for our political leaders is clear, do we want to remain relevant on the world stage, or do we want to become one of those wonderful Scandinavian countries that enjoy a high standard of living, largely as a result of spending a tiny portion of their GDP on “defense” and most of their wealth on infrastructure, education, and social programs designed to provide a safety net to all its citizens.
    If we don’t mind becoming the next Switzerland, our lawmakers should say no to intervention in Syria and everywhere else, and let every totalitarian regime in the world, and their powerful sponsors, do as they please. If, on the other hand, we want to protect and advance our geopolitical and economic interests, we have no choice but to intervene. Doing nothing will destroy our credibility and the de facto leaders of the free world and would reduce the United States to the point of irrelevancy. The choice is ours.

  2. I was against the attack in Syria the whole last week until this weekend when I changed my mind completely. Putting on the weighing scale the advantages and disadvantages, the advantages weighed more. This country is not called the greatest nation on earth for nothing and it is not just only the name. We have to act whatever the case and safeguard our dignity, leave alone the prestige. Oh!, does it really sound in any ear that it was Assad the murderer who pulled the greatest nation on earth to their feet and lost their credibility? Really? Of all the people Assad? Without doing nothing should US be put to the level of where Somalia is now? Who can appeal to Somalia incase they are in trouble? For the better or worse of this nation, it is time to let everyone in the world know, that we still hold that title and we will not let those who are assisted by us take over our power.

    • How many of our service people are you willing to sacifice for this goal? How many more do we lose for a political fight!! Just so we can say we are all powerful?

      • highpckts
        If you are really a determined person, you never lose what you have got already because someone came along to challenge you. You fight to your last breath and make sure no one will grab what you fought for before, for many years. Here comes the memories of our forefathers, they really fought hard, we are still fighting and we can not let each and everything disappear in the air because we didn’t take an effort to fight on from our side.

        • When the cause is just, go for it! World wars were to keep all countries free! These “wars”. Korea, Vietnam. Iraq are not “just” wars!!

          • Dear highpckts,
            Are you going to feel free while chemicals are following you wherever corner you are? What kind of freedom is that? I have never heard of this kind of life in my short period of my life living on earth.

          • What? How are chemicals following us? Do you honestly think that by attacking Syria we will stop anyone else from doing the same thing even here in the US?

          • I don’t detect any chemicals. I do detect a foul odor from a piece of crap like you who wants the United States to help the very people who rejoiced at the death of the 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

          • The foul odor is coming from the name calling person that you are! I will not approve a war that is just for muscle flexing!

          • These are internal revolutions that are none of our business.
            Not one nation is with us on this. I haven’t checked with Israel, but if they’re hot to get into this scrap, then they should go to it.

        • You are a mealy mouthed piece of crap. I hope that you rot in hell.
          I also hope that not one American agrees with you and that your zeal causes you to go to Syria to enter into the fight.

    • How many family members do you have in the military? Are you just willing to get involved because no one in your family is in the military thus you are willing to sacrifice the young members of families that have members in the military for what reason? I have not been shown positive proof that the chemicals were used by the Syrian government have you? For all we know it could have been released by a third party so we would go to war against the Syrian Government.

      • I do think you are not aware of the world we are living in now. If we do not do anything. We will all perish including our young ones in a matter of a minute.

        • I am very aware of the world we are living in and that is why I say I want proof that actually shows the Syrian Government did do the chemical warfare. I have family in the military and family members of an age that could be drafted if that is ever reinstated and I do no want them putting their lines on the line because of something that a third party could have done so the US would get in involved in this civil war. Wrongs and killings of civilians, women and children, have been done by all sides so that is why I say positive proof of Syrian government use of the the chemicals. There have been to many other countries in the past and now that are wanting us to get involved in Syria to not question if there is proof positive that the Syrian government used chemical warfare against these civilians. If there is then we should do something.

    • So, FT66, when do you leave for Syria? You’re hot to trot for us to flex our international muscles? Good, but let it be your muscles that are put in harm’s way.

    • As right as you just might be, the time we have wasted, those WMD’s are being moved yet again! In this case, I feel our President missed any real window for attack. By now, I’m positive Assad has moved these chemical weapons to secure places. I will admit, I was for a quick, precise missile attack last week. Now, I feel we will just look like the bad guy bully the Muslim world paints us to be.

      As much as I have backed President Obama all the way up until now, I truly believe he missed the mark on Syria.

  3. Now it’s time for old hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham to put up or shut up. They have been beating war drums for months calling the president out as being soft on Syria’s death and destruction. Let’s see if they can convince those in congress who oppose any intervention. Their reputations are on the line also and so are the neo cons in the press. This is a no win situation. Too little and Assad will emerge stronger, too much and we risk having the government collapse and the radical islamists take over, and we get pulled in deeper. Obama is smart to pull his harshest critics into the decision process.

    • The issue for McCain and Graham is going to be whether or not limited intervention, in the form of using cruise missiles and drones to destroy WMD storage facilities and, perhaps, some Syrian missiles sites, is going to be enough. They both support boots on the ground, removing al-Assad from office, and replacing him with ???, and there lies the conundrum we are in. The rebels have not offered a viable alternative to al-Assad, and there is a distinct possibility of his replacement being worse than the incumbent.

      • We are not even sure who was using the gas! How do you just bomb certain sites without killing civilians making us the bad guy again! In order to get the bad guy, that means boots on the ground again! Will it ever stop? I, personally don’t care if we are like Switzerland, as Dominick says. I am tired of all the muscle flexing and lives lost for NOTHING!!

      • Listen to this jerk! “Destroy WMD storage facilities….yadda, yadda, yadda”!!! Have we ever heard that bullshit before? It sure sounds familiar.
        There’s an old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
        The highly moralistic Dominick Vila, from his high moral perch, wants us to intervene. If we do intervene, it should be to grab old man Vila and drop him into Syria, where he can have an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.

  4. Does anyone still believe George W. Bush is irrelevant, simply because he no longer
    occupies the White House? The thought of military action aganist yet another Mid-East madman with WMDs, with the bodies of our military’s finest, not yet cold in their graves, and the debt of trillions riding heavily on America’s balance sheet, from the
    last fruitless mission aganist the world’s worst actors, possessing the world’s most
    terrifying weapons. Well, is it a surprise that more than a few Americans are asking those questions now, many of us have deeply regretted not asking before Iraq? Syria is not a compelling case. Yes, thousands of innocents have been killed, and the world would no doubt be better off without Bashar Al Assad. But, would it be a better world with his replacement in power? Is one of those nagging questions I think many would like cleared up a bit. Does it seem petty to consider the cost of a Tomahawk Missile, as we think about our own 50 million uninsured, baby boomers retiring, or look at our crumbling roads, and bridges, and wonder how will we pay our own bills, with our multitudes of minimum wage workers? Perhaps. But, let’s look around at the rest of the world. There is no love lost for Assad. But there are few Countries stepping up with their checkbooks open to do something about him either. Look at the skyrocketing price of a barrel of oil. Has Saudi Arabia offered to help pay for ridding the world of their enemy? I do know as we considered cutting back on our foreign aid to Egypt, as the Egyptian Army opened fire on unarmed civilians. The Saudis quickly promised to make up the difference. Is a dead innocent in Syria, more compelling to the Saudis, than a dead innocent in Egypt? Evidently.
    Now, that said. I would not care one whit, if President Obama decided it was important, and we took this action. I believe we elect Presidents to make such decisions. And we ought to respect those decisions when they are made. And if Assad gets blown to Kingdom Come, so much the better. But, I think we need to realize in the war aganist Kooks with WMDs, we are just getting started. Iran is on course to have the capability in less than 5 years, to both make, and deliver, a nuclear warhead across the world. Just a couple of months ago, a cache of Russian missile parts was discovered by our Coast Guard on a ship out of Havana harbor. Headed for N. Korea, hidden under several tons of sugar. So the issue of WMDs would seem to call for less ad hoc solutions. No more invading Countries we think may have them. And punishing Countries that break with international norms, and use them is inadequate, and can not be uniformly applied. So, a more comprehensive plan to work with many Nations to deal with, and get past, if you will, this potentially world ending era, of the coming proliferation of WMDs of all manner. To not do this could mean we are witnessing the final few decades of man’s existence on the planet. So, there is the tougher decision.

    • All presidents including your hero Bush 2 has put their shoes on the White House desk and there are pictures showing them doing it.

      • Bush never put his shoes on the desk. He has respect for the WH.–Where can I find the pictures since you say it’s true

  5. Why are so many people willing to accept that the Syrian government is the one that released the chemicals when there is no fool proof evidence has been shown? Has it occurred to any of you or our government leaders that a third party could have released the chemicals so this Country would get involved in the Syrian civil war? After all we have a so called Allie in the Middle East that has been trying to get us involved in this civil war and others since the civil wars started there and there a lot of other countries that have being doing the same thing. Let these countries take the lead for a change.

    • Barbara,We are willing to accept that Syrian Govt. used the chemicals because it has been killing its people for almost 2 years now. A working gov. and that cares of its people, could had apprehended the rebels and not kill them. Killing is killing Barbara BUT using chemicals, kills the young ones or insects that are not involved in the fight. If it not the Syrian Gov., who did it, why aren’t they taking any investigation to know who did it? It is them.

      • Who’s “we” schmuckhead? I think that you are part of a vocal group of radicals who are yelling because you’re encouraged to do so by some subversive group here in America.

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