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

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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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