News / USA

Key Lawmakers to Obama: Enhanced Strategy for Syria Needed

Lawmakers Urge Obama to Enhance Strategy to Degrade Assad, Aid Rebelsi
X
September 03, 2013 12:40 AM
President Obama met Monday with two key Republican senators, seeking their support for a resolution authorizing use of military force in Syria that will be the focus of hearings this week on Capitol Hill. The White House accelerated efforts to overcome skepticism about a potential military strike to respond to the August 21 chemical weapons attack. VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports
— As the White House continues to make the case to U.S. lawmakers that Congress should approve military action against Syria's government, President Obama met Monday with two key Republican senators whose support will be crucial.  

On national security matters, especially those involving the Middle East, President Obama has often consulted with Senator John McCain, whom he defeated in the 2008 presidential election.

McCain and fellor Republican Lindsey Graham are among lawmakers who for more than two years have urged a stronger U.S. response to the Syrian civil war, and now to the August 21 chemical attack in Damascus.

In what he called a "candid" exchange with the president, McCain said he emphasized the importance of degrading the Assad regime's capabilities, and upgrading those of Syrian rebels.

"We do want an articulation of a goal that over time will degrade Bashar al-Assad's capabilities, increase and upgrade the capabilities of the Free Syrian Army and the Free Syrian government so that they can reverse the momentum on the battlefield that is presently not in their favor because they have not received the assistance that they need," said McCain.

Graham spoke of a "consensus" being formed to strengthen the opposition while degrading the Assad government.

"I am hopeful that over the coming days we will learn more about this strategy of degrading and upgrading, and that when the vote comes we can go on the floor of the Senate and say the administration has a plan apart from a limited military action that will allow us to get to where we need to go as a nation, which is to deter Iran from a nuclear weapons march and to stabilize the region before it's too late," said Graham.

Neither elaborated on how they believe Obama will lay out an enhanced strategy.

McCain said the administration will have to work very hard to persuade skeptical Americans, including reassuring there will be no U.S. boots on the ground.  He reiterated his concern about the effects of Congress voting down a use of force resolution.

"The consequences would be catastrophic in that the credibility of this country with friends and adversaries alike would be shredded, and it would be not only implications for this presidency but for future presidencies as well," he said.

McCain called what he heard Monday from Obama "encouraging," but said he wants to hear "concrete plans and details" explaining how next steps will differ from the past administration approach on Syria.

Asked if they discussed with Obama the hardening of Syrian defenses during any delay, McCain said he has been given "some reason to believe that very serious [military] strikes may take place, as opposed to cosmetic."

The meeting, and ongoing briefings for lawmakers, are part of an aggressive administration effort to reduce skepticism among members of both parties about the purpose and effectiveness of any attack.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

Congress formally returns to work on September 9.

In other developments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called U.S. evidence of the alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime as "absolutely unconvincing.''

However, in Paris a government source said a French intelligence report on the chemical attack last month concludes that there was "massive use of chemical agents" and that Syrian forces were responsible.

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, President Bashar al-Assad said military strikes against Syria could trigger "a regional war" and spread "chaos and extremism."

Assad dismissed Obama administration and French intelligence findings, saying the U.S. and France have been "incapable" of providing proof of Syrian government responsibility.

Latest images from Syria:

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 03, 2013 3:43 AM
I think it is the best decision, help the people who want to be free and end the bloodshed (Help by arming the FSA to protect their country from outsiders). The people want their nation to be free and assad will destroy Syria entirely himself by the looks of it because he can't have his own way. . It is time the world slaps assads hand. He does not own Syria, The people of Syria own Syria, they make Syria what it is not assad. Assad has murdered too many already, and he is just murdering more.

In Response

by: gig24
September 04, 2013 12:29 AM
You are in line with Sen McCain and SEN Graham. Keep in mind we got 2 Million Refugees the third inb military age ,male is upfront in miograting away into the EU. Call for boots on the ground ? I see a lot of empty boots on the side of FSA and Gen Idriss. Bad guys are there too, they jump quickly into those boots. Its getting a lot worse and wide-scaled before it can get better(better for USA/EU).Soon North Korea will give us the next headache.But i say "NK first" and it means "use of force ,no other means are left there.


by: EVERY SOLDIER WATCH THIS
September 02, 2013 7:23 PM
Most incredible speech ever, Charley Chaplin "The Dictator" 1940 before WWII, he mocks Hitler. Near the end of the speech he talks directly to his generals n military, "stand down, dont go along w this tyranny, fight for liberty, fight for humanity." Chaplin knew exactly what was coming. Its the same mf's at it again! Obama's globalist mandate is to take us to WW3 n end America! Stop this megalomaniac psychopath!
ABSOLUTE MUST WATCH! SHARE IT, MAKE IT VIRAL!
EVERY SOLDIER MUST SEE!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK2WJd5bXFg


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 02, 2013 1:04 PM
I almost forgot that Mr. President's manifesto to his election was premised on CHANGE. No wonder everything is changing, or must be changed. However, the change in Syria policy is not one the world can use. Chemical weapon - weapon of mass destruction - was used on civilians. Certainly the al qaida and other terrorists fighting on the side of the Opposition didn't have it, or they would have used it before that day. Syria is the only possible option, except Russia wants to bring in another country as possible introduction to the troubles in Syria. But that will be an unfair indictment.

The Arab League cannot continue to stand aloof wanting external forces to come do their work for them. They don't suggest military intervention, and they are not going in there to do it the "peaceful" way they must have suggested in their meeting on Sunday. That's just the outlook of a dog in the manger. What I find appalling in the whole trouble is that the US under Obama shouldn't have raised its voice to take action when it knows its afraid of Russian repercussion. But this should have been a good opportunity to repay Russia for granting Snowden the leader an asylum.

Well, let this be the precedence that countries are now free to treat their citizens anyhow they choose, except it runs counter to regional bloc objectives; in which case the fate of citizens under dictatorships and repressive governments hangs in the balance, at the mercy of such rulers and their goodwill with the regional body - if they are not toothless bulldog.


by: Marina Calvary from: UK
September 02, 2013 10:28 AM
weak... very weak...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid