President Obama announced on Saturday that he is delaying a military strike on Syria until he receives Congressional approval and firms up plans to confront the al-Assad regime with broader based support from Washington D.C. lawmakers.
Earlier in the week, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry began laying the ground work for an imminent military strike against selected targets in Syria that many expected would begin as early as this week-end.
But on Saturday morning Obama announced that he is willing to delay striking Syria until Congressional leaders can decide if his red line can be enforced with a majority vote against a brutal Syrian regime that recently used chemical weapons in the suburbs outside of Damascus, killing over 1400 of Syrian civilians in the latest dark twist of a civil way that has resulted in over 100,000 deaths in Syria since 2011 and thousands of other Syrians displaced from their homes outside of Syria.
Obama said that the country will be stronger if the attack is delayed until Congress votes on the decision, claiming “our actions will be even more effective.”
“Over the last several days, we’ve heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they’ve agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session” Obama said.
“In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security” Obama added.
The House GOP leadership reacted positively to President Obama’s latest decision on Saturday and issued the following statement:
“We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious , substantive questions being raised. In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.”
Last Thursday British Prime Minister David Cameron was unsuccessful in persuading the British parliament to support the United States in a military attack against Syria.
After hearing about President Obama’s delay, Prime Minister Cameron supported the decision along with French President Francois Hollande, who spoke to Obama on Saturday.
Although President Obama has agreed to wait and have Congressional leaders respond to the evidence that points to the al-Assad regime behind the chemical attacks, he used strong language on Saturday describing the need for the United States and its allies to support an intervention that confronts the al-Assad regime in its human rights violations of Syrian citizens.
“This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security” Obama said.
“It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm” Obama said.
Secretary of State John Kerry
On Sunday Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the Obama administration had new evidence that sarin gas was used in the chemical attacks that occurred in Damascus suburbs on August 21st.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Kerry said that he expects Congress will support President Obama’s request to use a military intervention in Syria.
“I can’t contemplate that Congress would turn its back on Israel and Jordan and the allies of the region,” Mr. Kerry said.