Obama to seek Congress vote on Syria military action


President Barack Obama says the US should take military action against Syria and he will seek congressional authorisation for intervention.

The US says the Syrian government carried out chemical weapons attacks on 21 August in which 1,429 people died.

Mr Obama said the operation would be limited in duration and strong to deter future chemical attacks. Congress is due to reconvene on 9 September.  

The Syrian government denies it was behind the attacks and blames rebels.

UN inspectors who have been investigating the attacks arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday with samples from site visits, which will be tested in laboratories in Europe.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is overseeing the investigation, said the whole testing process could take up to three weeks, although “every effort” would be made to expedite it.

‘No blind eye’

President Obama said the military operation could happen tomorrow, next week or in the near future.

“We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus,” he said.

As commander-in-chief, Mr Obama has the constitutional authority to order military action without the backing of Congress.

However, he said it was important to have the debate.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed the announcement, saying president’s role as commander-in-chief was “always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress”.

The BBC’s Katy Watson in Washington says that if Mr Obama is to intervene, he wants the people – and politicians – on his side.

But what is unclear is what action he would take if Congress votes against involvement, our correspondent says.

Last week, British MPs defeated a government motion to take part in any military action in Syria.

On Saturday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “I understand and support Barack Obama’s position”

Earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged the US to present to the UN evidence that Syria attacked rebels with chemical weapons.

Mr Putin said it would be “utter nonsense” for Syria’s government to provoke opponents with such attacks.

Russia – a key ally of Syria – has previously warned that “any unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council” would be a “direct violation of international law”.

Moscow, along with China, has vetoed two previous draft resolutions on Syria.

The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen in Damascus says people there are worried and are making preparations.

They do not know what Mr Obama meant by a limited attack and what consequences it will have, he adds.

The main findings of the unclassified US evidence state that:

  • the attacks killed 1,429 people, including 426 children
  • Syrian military chemical weapons personnel were operating in the area in the three days before the attack
  • Satellite evidence shows rockets launched from government-held areas 90 minutes before the first report of chemical attack
  • 100 videos attributed to the attack show symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent
  • Communications were intercepted involving a senior Damascus official who “confirmed chemical weapons were used” and was concerned about UN inspectors obtaining evidence

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his country will defend itself against any Western “aggression”.

Forces which could be used against Syria:

Syria map

Four US destroyers – USS Gravely, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Mahan – are in the eastern Mediterranean, equipped with cruise missiles. The missiles can also be fired from submarines, but the US Navy does not reveal their locations

Airbases at Incirlik and Izmir in Turkey, and in Jordan, could be used to carry out strikes

Two aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Harry S Truman are in the wider region

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is currently in Toulon in the western Mediterranean

French Rafale and Mirage aircraft can also operate from Al-Dhahra airbase in the UAE


6 thoughts on “Obama to seek Congress vote on Syria military action

  1. Just what is the big deal to start a war with obama. There should be no problem waiting for up to three weeks for this organization to have the results back from their testing those chemical weapons that they say were used. Yes, it seems that obama is acting like a spoiled little minded little baby boy – ya know that “my way or no way attitude”

    1. This is a way for Obama to crawl back into
      the last hole from which he has just come from.
      Congress won’t agree to a Syrian war…
      and Obama says, well! All is well.
      Now congress, Impeach the guy and throw him out of there.

      Don’t worry about the votes in the senate, to Convict……….
      They will come once he is before that body.
      Impeach him
      He is not even an american citizen
      that in itself is enough to throw the guy into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where he may be able to communicate, though far away, with o sa ma Binladin …..whom he claims to have dumped into one of the worlds oceans
      the man, obama, is below disgust
      he is zero.

      1. “Impeach him He is not even an american citizen”
        I agree, yet I have misgivings concerning impeachment in Soetero’s case. Edwin Viera discussed this in 2008. I haven’t found that link yet but Dezzy Kidd did a good article about this based on Viera’s work. You can read it here:
        All a moot point considering the congress doesn’t have the balls to do it’s job.

        1. rhumstruck

          i recall also reading language to the effect of bringing a successful impeachment to a conclusion of conviction….is difficult!
          Those comments were then. This is now.
          To your point though.
          probably is not going to happen because the resolve………well, integrity to do one’s job, is not there wihin this wimp of a pathetic, bunch that also should be thrown to the wolves with obama, his vp and all the rest of the DC Crowd….
          the situation is a stifling mess…
          In that regard, and unbeknown to you or myself
          may also be the answer….a positive one at that.

  2. It seems to me that all the pieces are already set in place…all they need is one more false flag event to touch it off. Say like a couple of “mysterious explosions” on one of the U.S. ships currently in the Med. a la Gulf of Tonkin. Then Owacko can say “See I told you, Assad just attacked us.” The attack being completely substantiated by Israeli intelligence.
    Of course, if that happened he wouldn’t have to wait for Congressional approval and he could obey his Zionist puppetmasters and immediately retaliate. And once Congress returns from their 5 week long vacation and realize that their bank accounts just became substantially larger they will vote for an attack on Syria after the fact. Then, It wouldn’t matter if it was proved to be a false flag event later on… as always, the damage will have already been done.

  3. “We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus,” he said.”

    A blind eye. Singular.

    That would be the all-seeing Eye of Horus. Never blind, never sleeping.

    Like Sauron.

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