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Obama to Make Case to Lawmakers for Attack on Syria

US Lawmakers Divided on Syria Despite Administration's Case for Actioni
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September 02, 2013 12:22 AM
The Obama administration is pressing its case for congressional authorization of military action against Syria, with Secretary of State John Kerry taking to the airwaves before officials briefed lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Washington is far from unified on the wisdom, much less the timing, of strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Watch a related report by Michael Bowman

VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with members of Congress at the White House Monday to make the case for a military strike against Syria.

Obama says he will wait for congressional approval before making a final decision.

U.S. officials briefed some lawmakers Sunday on intelligence showing that the Syrian military dropped poison gas on civilians outside Damascus last month, killing more than 1,000.

A leading voice for action in Syria, Republican Senator John McCain, said on CBS television Sunday that firing a few missiles is just symbolic. He said the president needs a plan for Syria that includes a threat to rid the country of Bashar al-Assad.

Republican Congressman Scott Rigell says he would vote against a military strike on Syria right now because of what he calls a lack of clarity, while Democrat Sandy Levin says he would vote yes.

Earlier Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he is confident Congress "will do what is right." Kerry called the case against Syria "overwhelming." But he said the president has the power to act no matter what Congress decides.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Maqdad says Obama's decision to seek approval from Congress shows he is hesitant and confused.

Arab League foreign ministers ended a meeting Sunday by calling on the world to take what they called the "necessary deterrent" steps against Syria. A resolution issued after the meeting calls those responsible for the chemical weapons strike "war criminals."

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons and says the rebels have used poison gas against Syrian troops.

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