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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid