News / USA

Obama Administration Presses Case on Syria

Key US Lawmakers Signal Support for Strikes on Syriai
X
September 04, 2013 1:12 AM
The Obama administration is intensifying pressure on U.S. lawmakers to authorize the use of force in Syria, after last month’s chemical attack that killed hundreds of civilians. VOA Senate correspondent Michael Bowman reports that the administration’s most exhaustive lobbying effort to date on foreign affairs appears to be yielding results.
Related video report: Key US Lawmakers Signal Support for Strikes on Syria
Michael Bowman
The Obama administration has intensified pressure on U.S. lawmakers to authorize the use of force against the Syrian regime for the apparent nerve gas attack less than two weeks ago that caused devastating civilian casualties. Some members of Congress are deeply skeptical about the consequences of a limited strike against Syria, but  the exhaustive lobbying effort appears to be yielding results.

At the White House and on Capitol Hill, the administration made its case Tuesday for military action against the Syrian regime. Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke bluntly about the use of chemical weapons:

“It did happen, and the Assad regime did it," said Kerry.

Kerry warned against inaction.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) listens as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill, Sept. 3, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) listens as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill, Sept. 3, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
x
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) listens as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill, Sept. 3, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) listens as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill, Sept. 3, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“If you are [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, or if you are any one of the despots in that region, and the United States steps back from this moment, together with our other allies and friends, what is the message? The message is that he has been granted impunity," he said.

Anti-intervention protesters repeatedly interrupted the hearing.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez acknowledged Americans are war-weary, but said the United States cannot stand by idly.

“We will either send a message to Syria, Iran, North Korea, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and any other non-state actors that the world will not tolerate the senseless use of chemical weapons by anyone. Or we will choose to stand silent in the face of horrific human suffering," said Menendez.

Several senators want strict limits on U.S. military actions in Syria, including Republican Bob Corker:

“I do not think there are any of us here who are willing to support the possibility of having combat boots on the ground," said Corker.

Kerry assured him there would be no U.S. ground forces intervening in Syria’s civil war. But he argued for some flexibility in the event of escalated use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria - or the transfer of those weapons to groups hostile to the United States.

Other lawmakers questioned what a limited military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will accomplish. Republican Senator James Risch put forth a troubling scenario.

“If we go in with a limited strike, and the day after, the week after, or the month after, Assad crawls out of his rat hole and says, ‘Look, I stood up to the strongest power on the face of this earth - and I won’," said Risch.

Kerry argued there is no way U.S. strikes would strengthen the Syrian leader. In fact, he said, the mere threat of force is already accelerating desertions among Assad-backers.

Polls show low levels of U.S. public support for intervention in Syria, something highlighted by Republican Senator Rand Paul.
 
“I have not had one person come up to me and say they are for this war. Not one person," said Paul.
 
U.S. officials say use of force in Syria would not constitute a full-scale war. Speaking at the White House earlier in the day, President Barack Obama sought to draw a distinction between focused military strikes in Syria and the long, open-ended campaigns of America’s recent past, saying, “This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan.”

House Speaker John Boehner emerged from a White House meeting voicing support for the use of force in Syria. Congressional votes are expected early next week.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid