News / Middle East

US Ramps Up Case for Military Response to Syria

Guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage seen operating in the Arabian Gulf, one of four U.S. destroyers currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, could potentially be used to strike Syria, undated file image.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage seen operating in the Arabian Gulf, one of four U.S. destroyers currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, could potentially be used to strike Syria, undated file image.
The United States continues its campaign to persuade its citizens and the world to back a military response to allegations that Syria has used chemical weapons against civilians.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to speak in Washington at about 12:30 p.m. (16:30 UTC) on the evidence against Syria. And the government is expected to release an unclassified report on that evidence following meetings with President Barack Obama and his advisers.
 
Obama faces a tough fight to build support for what is expected to be a limited military attack against the Damascus government.
 
Many U.S. voters and several members of Congress remain skeptical about the need for any U.S. involvement in Syria. That sentiment is shared in other parts of the world.
 
Syria denies carrying out a chemical attack and accuses the rebels of using such weapons on Syrian soldiers.
 
British dilemma
 
Britain's lower house of Parliament rejected a motion for British participation in a military strike. The non-binding vote is a setback to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who told lawmakers a strike would be a response to a war crime, not an attempt to topple the Syrian government.
 
Germany, another U.S. ally, says it will not take part in a military action, although the government has not opposed such an action.
 
Despite the British vote, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says, "Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together."
 
There is considerable international condemnation for what appears to have been a poison gas attack that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians on August 21.
 
U.S. ally France remains committed to a "firm and proportionate action" in response to that attack.
 
And in Tokyo, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan's Cabinet members agree that the use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated under any circumstance and responsibility for their use lies with the Assad government.
 
Japan plans to provide humanitarian assistance, especially to refugees displaced by the fighting inside Syria.
 
US lawmakers seek clarity
 
Secretary Hagel was among a group of senior administration officials who briefed members of Congress late Thursday on Syria. Officials explained why they believe the Assad government is to blame for the suspected chemical attack near Damascus last week.
 
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have asked the White House for the legal justification for a military strike and its objectives.
 
Members of Congress who took part in the briefing said there is no doubt the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack.
 
Democratic Representative Eliot Engel of New York said the U.S. officials cited intercepted communications between senior Syrian officials. Engel also said intelligence showed the Syrians moved materials around in advance of a chemical strike.
 
Earlier Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that along with circumstantial evidence, the United States has classified intelligence that undoubtedly points to an attack by the Syrian government.
 
UN inspectors winding down
 
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world powers to hold off on possible military action until a U.N. chemical weapons inspection team completes its work in the country.
 
U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq on Thursday said the team investigating the August 21 attack near Damascus would leave the country by Saturday morning. He said U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane and other inspectors will be in New York in the coming days to brief Ban.
 
"They will have a large number of facts at their disposal, they’ve collected considerable amount of evidence — evidence through samples, evidence through witness interviews — they can construct from that a fact-based narrative that can get at the key facts of what happened," he said.
 
No international consensus
 
International military deployments directed toward SyriaInternational military deployments directed toward Syria
x
International military deployments directed toward Syria
International military deployments directed toward Syria
Despite two meetings of members of the United Nations Security Council, there has been no agreement on any sort of U.N. authorization for action against Syria.
 
China and Russia have blocked previous attempts at the U.N. to impose sanctions on President Assad’s regime. That has led to frustration for the U.S. and its European allies.
 
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's chief foreign policy aide said the British decision shows that "people are beginning to understand" the dangers of a military strike.
 
Other nations have argued against a strike. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his government and Russia will work to prevent an attack on Syria, and warned any assault could “bring great costs” to the region.
 
The United Nations and aid groups report new refugee flows to neighboring countries: already more than 2 million Syrians have fled, half of them children.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: Michigan, USA
August 30, 2013 3:15 PM
Sanctioned by the UN or not, any US-led attack on Syria will not only be thankless but also disastrous for the US image and interests, without resulting in any relief for the victims of the Bashar Assad tyranny. On the other hand, it will further endanger the position of some innocent bystanders of the Arab-Muslim world, e.g. the Christians, the Jews, and the Kurds and the Baluchs, the only sincere well-wishers of the West in those vast fanaticism-ridden regions.

The best way for President Obama and fellow Americans to record their deep sincere sympathies for the victims of the Bashar Assad tyranny is to loudly condemn the Arab & Muslim countries for their hypocrisy and inaction concerning Syria. President Obama should challenge all the Arab-Muslim countries by asking them to go to the UN and unanimously demand an Arab-Muslim-led UN military attack aimed at 1) replacing the Assad regime with a provisional UN-supervised government, 2) asking the International Court of Justice at the Hague to try Bashar Assad & Co. for possessing & using chemical weapons and for their crimes against humanity, and 3) making Syria a chemical-nuclear-weapon-free as well as al-Qaedah-free country.

Given the vast trade and other interests of China and Russia in Arab-Muslim countries, these Arab-Muslim countries, if sincere, can 'convince' China and Russia to support their demand for the UN action against the Assad regime as mentioned above.

The hypothesis is wrong that if the Assad regime is not punished for its possession and use of chemical weapons against its own citizens it will use them against others, e.g. the West and its allies including Israel. The Arab-Muslim demagogues are 'smart' enough never to use such weapons against the West and its allies because they know that the response will be swift and devastating -- and it must be. Besides, the possession of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime must have been addressed by the West long before, the way we are dealing with Iran concerning its nuclear capability. We should not have waited for a civil war to deal with the issue. Also, we have to be consistent. Our hue and cry concerning Iran's INTENTIONS to have nuclear weapons cannot be convincing while allowing another rogue state, Pakistan, to make an alarmingly large number of the same.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 30, 2013 1:49 PM
The world is aware of the consequences of a strike on Syria. But that does not justify the use of the poison gas by the Assad regime. A no-vote to take action on Assad and his regime will be giving clout to others like Assad to use whatever weapon they wish on their people and others provided they have Russia or China to defend them at the UN. At the same time a strike on Syria that brings about the mistake made in Libya where all the terrorist jihadists have been given quarters in preference to a Muamar Gaddafi government is wrong. It is important to understand what is needed in Syria, not just a strike that will provide another safe haven for al qaida, Hezbollah and other extremist jihadist groups thereby worsening the security situation in the region, especially to Israel.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More