Syria Strike Plan Faces Imminent Congressional Review

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 3, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

U.S. law­makers on key na­tion­al se­cur­ity com­mit­tees rushed back to Wash­ing­ton to start hear­ings on Tues­day on Pres­id­ent Obama’s plan to strike Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment tar­gets fol­low­ing al­leg­a­tions that nerve gas at­tacks late last month killed more than 1,400 people in outly­ing Dam­as­cus neigh­bor­hoods held by en­emies of Bashar As­sad’s re­gime, the New York Times re­por­ted.

Pres­id­ent Obama on Tues­day morn­ing voiced a firm be­lief that Con­gress would ul­ti­mately back a meas­ure per­mit­ting the use of armed force against Syr­ia, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted. He told re­port­ers dur­ing a meet­ing with con­gres­sion­al lead­ers that he could ac­cept le­gis­lat­ive al­ter­a­tions to his pro­posed lan­guage for al­low­ing an at­tack.

The Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee is set to re­ceive testi­mony on Tues­day from De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel, Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair­man Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey, the Times re­por­ted. Five seni­or White House na­tion­al se­cur­ity of­fi­cials on Monday spoke with 127 House Demo­crats in a single tele­phone ex­change, and a bi­par­tis­an group of 83 le­gis­lat­ors took part in a closed-door meet­ing on Sunday.

“The de­bate is shift­ing away from ‘Did [As­sad] use chem­ic­al weapons?’ to ‘What should be done about it?’” Rep­res­ent­at­ive Adam Schiff (D-Cal­if.), a mem­ber of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, told the Times after Monday’s ses­sion.

“The United States will not go it alone,” Kerry re­portedly said in the tele­phone ex­change, ad­dress­ing con­cerns that a po­ten­tial U.S. mil­it­ary move against Syr­ia would lack ad­equate back­ing from oth­er gov­ern­ments.

Ma­jor­ity and minor­ity lead­ers from the de­fense, for­eign re­la­tions and in­tel­li­gence pan­els of both cham­bers could meet on Tues­day with Obama at the White House in re­sponse to an in­vit­a­tion from the pres­id­ent.

Mean­while, an ini­tial team of 50 CIA-backed rebel op­er­at­ives has be­gun mov­ing in­to Syr­i­an ter­rit­ory, Obama re­portedly said in a meet­ing with Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ors John Mc­Cain (Ar­iz.) and Lind­sey Gra­ham (S.C.). Still, a fear of in­ad­vert­ently arm­ing ex­trem­ist op­pos­i­tion ele­ments has con­tin­ued to hold off U.S. weapons de­liv­er­ies ini­tially au­thor­ized for res­ist­ance forces in June, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted on Monday.

U.S. na­tion­al se­cur­ity ad­viser Susan Rice is ex­pec­ted to fur­ther dis­cuss the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Syr­ia plan­ning with Mc­Cain and Gra­ham, the law­makers told the Times.

Else­where, a West­ern-backed Syr­i­an rebel group on Tues­day said a med­ic­al spe­cial­ist has entered Tur­key with re­cords link­ing As­sad’s re­gime to an al­leged March 19 chem­ic­al strike in the vil­lage of Khan al-As­sal near Aleppo, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. As­sad’s gov­ern­ment and the res­ist­ance have each blamed the oth­er side for the in­cid­ent.

What We're Following See More »
Republican Polling Shows Close Race
Roundup: National Polling Remains Inconsistent
10 hours ago

The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona

Colin Powell to Vote for Clinton
12 hours ago
Clinton Reaching Out to GOP Senators
18 hours ago

If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."

Trump Admits He’s Behind
18 hours ago
Ron Klain in Line to Be Clinton’s Chief of Staff?
18 hours ago

Sources tell CNN that longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain, who has been Vice President Biden's chief of staff, is "high on the list of prospects" to be chief of staff in a Clinton White House. "John Podesta, the campaign chairman, has signaled his interest in joining the Cabinet, perhaps as Energy secretary."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.