News / Middle East

Obama Asks Congress to Delay Votes on Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama walks from his residence to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, September 10, 2013. Obama is scheduled to address the nation on Syria on Tuesday night.
U.S. President Barack Obama walks from his residence to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, September 10, 2013. Obama is scheduled to address the nation on Syria on Tuesday night.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama is getting ready to address the nation on Syria, but Tuesday's flurry of diplomacy is likely to change the tone of his speech.

Obama was expected to make the case for a U.S. military strike on Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians near Damascus last month.

But the president is asking Congress to delay voting on military action after the Syrian government said it would give up its chemical weapons and sign an international treaty banning such bombs.  Syria also said it would agree to a Russian plan to put its chemical weapons under international control and let them be destroyed.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration will take a hard look at the Russian plan. Kerry intends to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday in Geneva to discuss Syria.

At the United Nations, American, British and French diplomats worked on a draft resolution Tuesday calling for strong action if Syria fails to keep its word.  

President Obama says the U.S. is still prepared to go ahead with military strikes against Syria if diplomacy fails. But Russian President Vladimir Putin says the plan for Syria can only work if the United States drops its threat of force.

Syria's main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Coalition, dismissed the Russian proposal as meaningless. It said the plan still would give the Syrian army free rein to fight on with conventional weapons.

But while diplomatic activity focuses on the response to the chemical weapons attack, the civil war in Syria continues. On Tuesday, Syrian military jets again bombed rebel positions in the capital.

Watch Google Hangout on Syria with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
September 11, 2013 12:44 AM
Surely Mr.Obama has a very good reason to stop the voting from starting because the result will be badly against his will. Russia has thrown him a good lifebuoy to grab.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City, NJ
September 10, 2013 11:21 PM
Man we know Mr. Obama was just bluffing, Assad won

by: Dr. Lawrence Burncrotch from: Washington D.C.
September 10, 2013 6:33 PM
The United States could then, as happened with Iraq, accuse Syria of being too slow or failing to disarm, before launching air strikes with congressional approval already secured.

Forcing Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons would also significantly reduce the country’s capability to fend off any potential future aggression on behalf of Israel or other hostile Gulf states.

It would be naive to think that the White House has not at least considered using Syria’s supposed “victory” against US aggression as a precondition which could be used weeks, months, or even years down the line to back Assad into a corner from which he cannot escape.

However, to believe that this had been the plan from the very beginning would mean Kerry’s apparent “gaffe” of giving Assad a week to disarm was in fact a calculated maneuver.

It also fails to explain why Israel has all but rejected the idea, in addition to people like British Foreign Secretary William Hague pouring cold water on the plan by assuming Assad will fail to go ahead with disarmament anyway.

However, history tells us that regimes who attempt to acquiesce to demands for disarmament are by no means protected from future US military aggression.

In December 2003, Colonel Gaddafi agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction and allow unimpeded inspections. This didn’t stop the Obama administration coming to the aid of Al-Qaeda-linked rebels eight years later to destroy Libya and leave it in the hands of brutal warlords.

Similarly, Saddam Hussein agreed to give UN weapons inspectors unfettered access in a desperate bid to prevent the US invasion of Iraq, but the move was completely futile because, as in the case of Syria, the decision to attack had already been made.

Even if Syria does relinquish its chemical weapons arsenal, it will do nothing to stop the hordes of foreign insurgents and terrorists being armed, trained and funded by the CIA , Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, who continue to flood into Syria and to whom Obama has indicated he will now offer increased support.

While the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons is being hailed as a diplomatic coup to temporarily halt US aggression, it will do nothing to stop the civil war that continues to rage inside the country and it could even provide the Obama administration with a future excuse to launch an even larger military assault.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet- Africa
September 11, 2013 4:49 AM
Dr. Lawrence Burncrotch from: Washington D.C, educate the world! How I wished about 5% of the world population are enlightened on this issue of US international politics and foreign policy of bullying, the world would have been a better place than the way it is today. We would not be easily used against our own brothers by the US.

by: Nguyễn from: US
September 10, 2013 4:46 PM
Just ask Congress to vote now. Obama needs a raincheck from the US Congress in hands to give more pressure to Assad and Putin in dealing with Syrian Sarin

by: Dr. Lenwich from: Harvard
September 10, 2013 12:32 PM
The UN is corrupt, and the CIA funds, trains, arms, Al Qaeda.Prepare for a FALSE FLAG attack by the CIA, and it will be blamed on Al Qaeda!!

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 10, 2013 11:21 AM
End of the show. Everybody goes home. Those whose people were killed should take it as one of those things that happen in war. Those still amassing weapons of mass destruction receive impetus to use them. All sympathy should go to Israel, the target of all such terrorist weapons. The world is left without a guardian. Russia failed to be a superpower, but takes its anger for the failure on innocent people who do not support it. China is a sleeping giant, it grows without bones, and finds support leaning on Russia who fears China's size might crush it when it stands up. France and Britain live on past glory, they are now pets of the USA even though Britain survives being tricky. The only superpower has become a toothless bulldog. The peoples of USA have become more ordinary than the word. Their president should have been a priest, even a voodoo priest, but he hates to hear about God either as a word or an entity. Who will stand up for the UN in future? I feel pity for the world without the leadership the US used to provide.
In Response

by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
September 10, 2013 4:37 PM
I suggest you learn to distinguish people of the US from te politicians. We are no ordinary nor different people from elsewhere. For the first time in a long time, we the Americans seems to have a say and our politicians are actually listening. Many of us are happy with this demoocratic process. Yes, we have our complaints and foibles. Perhaps, this turns out to be the best for democracy elsewhere. Stay tuned. Dont be too quick to criticize the American people, but criticize the govt and the politicians.

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
September 10, 2013 11:10 AM
If this Russian-designed overture fails and the United States attacks Syria, there is a question that must be answered. If Christians are slaughtered by Muslims after Assad is disposed of, will the Christian world -- including America -- blame Obama and the United States for setting up the slaughter and not doing anything to prevent it? Or is it just acceptable collateral damage?

by: Butch from: NYCity
September 10, 2013 10:41 AM
While Israel is portrayed as wanting to “co-exist” with the current Syrian government, it should be remembered that such public statements are meant to undermine and taint Syria’s credibility amongst the very extremist elements Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia have armed, funded, and covertly directed for decades.

Israel is a documented collaborator with the United States in the subversion of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, as indicated in the extensive body of work represented by the Brookings Institution’s 2009 “Which Path to Persia?” report, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker piece, “The Redirection.”

Originally appeared at Land Destroyer.

by: Mon from: Japan
September 10, 2013 9:20 AM
Before blaming for Syria, how about A-bombs which instantly killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Isn't A-bomb a mass-destructive and inhumain weapon? Such kind of double-standards of the US make a lot of enemies all over the world for the longest time, so that many extremists try to attack Americans even now.
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
September 11, 2013 12:57 AM
There is no difference in the USA's dropping an atom bomb against Japanese people or against its own people because they are all people. In WWII the USA made a terrible crime against Japanese people and the USA got away with it easily because it was the winner of the war.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 10, 2013 11:28 AM
Shut up both of you Mon from: Japan and NVO from: USA, for you are living in the past. The world saw the devastating effect of WMD and therefore set a red line against its use. Even at that, USA did not use the weapon on its own people. The world body - if you like the UN - has pegged its isolation from that use, and now there is a violation. When there was no law there was no lawbreaking. But when there is a law, breaking it is an offense, so Syria's Assad is GUILTY.
In Response

by: NVO from: USA
September 10, 2013 10:09 AM
Thank you!! At least one person is awake and knows some history. NOW WAKE UP THE REST OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs