Fate of Syria Resolution Remains Uncertain in U.S. Senate, House

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 5, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

It re­mained un­clear on Thursday wheth­er a U.S. Sen­ate com­mit­tee-passed res­ol­u­tion on use of force against Syr­ia would win en­dorse­ment on the Sen­ate floor or if an al­tern­ate meas­ure would pass in the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, which are ex­pec­ted to de­bate po­ten­tial strikes against the Middle East na­tion next week, USA Today re­por­ted.

The Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day backed Pres­id­ent Obama’s pro­pos­al to em­ploy armed force against Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s re­gime, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted.

Obama’s high-stakes polit­ic­al push for mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion in Syr­ia has gained little trac­tion among GOP mem­bers of the lower cham­ber, des­pite win­ning the sup­port of House Speak­er John Boehner (R-Oh.) and Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor (R-Va.) earli­er this week. Some of the pres­id­ent’s long­time Demo­crat­ic al­lies also are among the pro­pos­al’s greatest crit­ics, the New York Times re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day.

Ques­tions also per­sisted on the scope and tac­tics of a pos­sible at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the Journ­al. The text ap­proved on Wed­nes­day by the Sen­ate com­mit­tee states that any mil­it­ary ac­tion against As­sad’s gov­ern­ment should last no longer than 90 days. However, it would also com­mit Wash­ing­ton to al­ter­ing “the mo­mentum on the bat­tle­field” in Syr­ia’s civil war, now in its third year.

Des­pite the pro­posed strike’s stated aim of pun­ish­ing As­sad’s re­gime for al­legedly us­ing nerve gas to kill more than 1,400 people late last month and de­ter­ring fu­ture such at­tacks, Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said the ac­tion would have a “down­stream col­lat­er­al be­ne­fit” of erod­ing the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s armed forces cap­ab­il­it­ies.

The De­fense De­part­ment pre­vi­ously said it would not plan to em­ploy bomber air­craft in a po­ten­tial at­tack, but the Pentagon is now ex­amin­ing pos­sible use of such planes in ad­di­tion to four mis­sile-equipped war­ships fielded off the Syr­i­an coast, the Journ­al re­por­ted. An of­fens­ive might in­volve mis­sile-cap­able B-1 or B-52 bombers, or B-2 air­craft able to ac­com­mod­ate large grav­ity mu­ni­tions.

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