360° Coverage : Obama's surprise turnaround on Syria strike

Obama's surprise turnaround on Syria strike

Washington, Sep 1 (IANS) After hinting at an imminent unilateral military strike at Syria, President Barack Obama in a surprise turnaround decided to seek the approval of US Congress for use of force against the Assad regime.

Aug 31 2013, 11:00pm CDT | by IANS

Obama's surprise turnaround on Syria strike
Photo Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM, Getty Images

Washington, Sep 1 — After hinting at an imminent unilateral military strike at Syria, President Barack Obama in a surprise turnaround decided to seek the approval of US Congress for use of force against the Assad regime.

The United States "should take military action against Syrian targets" for its suspected use of chemical weapons in an Aug 21 attack on rebel controlled areas, he declared in a hurriedly arranged Rose Garden address Saturday with Vice President Biden standing by his side.

While he was as clear on the need for action, Obama said he would seek Congressional authorisation for the use of force, not because he has to - but because he wants to.

"While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorisation, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective," he said.

"We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual."

The president said Congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a debate and vote when they return to session Sep 9. But he did not say if he'd forgo a strike if Congress rejects his call to action.

The move came as Obama failed to find support at home and abroad for military action in a hurry even as he laid out afresh his administration's case for a targeted military action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Obama also made clear that this would not be an open-ended intervention, and the US "would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope."

"But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behaviour, and degrade their capacity to carry it out," he said.

Appealing for congressional leaders to consider their responsibilities and values in debating US military action in Syria he said: "Some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment."

Hours later Obama sent a letter to the heads of the House and Senate asking Congress to adopt a resolution approving the use of military force "to deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade the potential for future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction."

Describing Obama's new move as "one of the riskiest gambles of his presidency," influential New York Times said he had "effectively dared lawmakers to either stand by him or, as he put it, allow President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to get away with murdering children with unconventional weapons."

The Washington Post editorially endorsed the President's move saying "Obama is right to wait for Congress." The daily said it agreed with Obama that the US "must respond militarily to Syria's Aug 21 gassing of its own people."

"He also said he would seek congressional authorisation before proceeding.

We think that's right, too, though the approach isn't risk-free,"

Influential political news site Politico felt "Obama is staking his Syria strategy - and maybe more - on an unlikely ally: Congress."

"A successful vote in Congress would strengthen Obama's hand with both allies and enemies," it said.

But on "the flip side: a losing vote could weaken the president ahead of debates on key domestic issues including the budget, debt ceiling, Obamacare funding and immigration.

"On the international stage, it could embolden Syria, Iran and other unfriendly countries."

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

School headmaster shot dead in Pakistan
Islamabad, Dec 4 (IANS) Unidentified gunmen Thursday killed the headmaster of a private school in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
 
 
Four more bodies recovered from sunken South Korean ship
Seoul, Dec 4 (IANS) Four more bodies were recovered Thursday from a sunken South Korean fishing ship in the Bering Sea, the foreign ministry here said.
 
 
Lesbian couple asked to desist in London restaurant
London, Dec 4 (IANS) A lesbian couple in a London restaurant was asked to desist by a staff member, who asked them to "stop what you are doing".
 
 
Oxford Dictionaries to add 1,000 new words
London, Dec 4 (IANS) 'Mamil' (middle-aged man in Lycra), 'silvertail' (a person who is socially prominent or who displays social aspirations) and 'crony capitalism' are among the 1,000 new words to be added to OxfordDictionaries.com, the free online dictionary, in its largest quarterly update so far.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Australian researcher discovers first artwork by early human
Sydney, Dec 4 (IANS) An Australian researcher has discovered what is believed to be the first artwork created by a human. The simple zigzag pattern found on a fossilized shell from the Indonesian island of Java has...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Insects compete with rats to clear garbage
New York, Dec 4 (IANS) Insects play a very important role in cleaning up cities and they compete with other pests like rats and pigeons in their endeavour, a study has said. Scientists sampled arthropods - such as...
Read more on Business Balla
 
School headmaster shot dead in Pakistan
Islamabad, Dec 4 (IANS) Unidentified gunmen Thursday killed the headmaster of a private school in Pakistan's Balochistan province. Police officials said the armed men opened fire at the vehicle of Zahid Ali,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Four more bodies recovered from sunken South Korean ship
Seoul, Dec 4 (IANS) Four more bodies were recovered Thursday from a sunken South Korean fishing ship in the Bering Sea, the foreign ministry here said. This increased the toll to 16, including six South Koreans and 10...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Lesbian couple asked to desist in London restaurant
London, Dec 4 (IANS) A lesbian couple in a London restaurant was asked to desist by a staff member, who asked them to "stop what you are doing". Lydia Cawson, 29, said that she and her girlfriend were asked by a staff...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Oxford Dictionaries to add 1,000 new words
London, Dec 4 (IANS) 'Mamil' (middle-aged man in Lycra), 'silvertail' (a person who is socially prominent or who displays social aspirations) and 'crony capitalism' are among the 1,000 new words to be added to...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Oceans play key role in global 'warming hiatus'
London, Dec 4 (IANS) Increased heat uptake across three oceans - North Atlantic, the Southern Ocean and Equatorial Pacific Ocean - is the likely cause of the 'warming hiatus' -- the current decade-long slowdown in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Novel imaging to identify if TB drugs are working
Washington, Dec 4 (IANS) Tuberculosis patients who are not cured of the infection can develop multi-drug resistant TB and have to take as many as six drugs for two years. Now, researchers at University of Pittsburgh...
Read more on Business Balla
 
PM makes first appointment to High Court of Australia
Canberra, Dec 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government Thursday appointed former Victorian Supreme Court judge Geoffrey Nettle as the next Justice of the High Court of Australia. Attorney General George...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
18 suspected militants killed in Pakistan airstrikes
Islamabad, Dec 4 (IANS) At least 18 suspected militants were killed Thursday in airstrikes conducted by Pakistan Air Force fighter jets in North Waziristan. According to officials, the airstrikes were conducted in...
Read more on Politics Balla