Posts tagged Russia
Somewhere in the Middle East, right now, Putin and Assad are sharing cigars and cognac around a roaring fire, with the melodious sound of laughter rising into the night sky as they high-five each other over an 8×10 glossy of Obama. ‘Red line’ indeed.
WASHINGTON — The ambitious U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough just days ago, hit its first delay Wednesday with indications that the Syrian government will not submit an inventory of its toxic stockpiles and facilities to international inspectors by this weekend’s deadline.
The State Department signaled that it would not insist that Syrian President Bashar Assad produce the list Saturday, the end of a seven-day period spelled out in the framework deal that Washington and Moscow announced last weekend in Geneva.
Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that “our goal is to see forward momentum” by Saturday, not the full list. “We’ve never said it was a hard and fast deadline.”
It wasn’t clear whether Syrian officials needed more time to complete a formal declaration of their chemical arms, or whether the disarmament deal itself was in trouble.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry had described the date as the first of several “specific timelines” that would indicate whether Syria is committed to the deal that he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had worked out.
“We agreed that Syria must submit within a week — not in 30 days, but in one week — a comprehensive listing,” Kerry said Saturday. He said the U.S. would allow “no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance.”
Senior Obama administration officials had praised Russia for persuading Assad’s government to relinquish its lethal chemical arsenal, one of the world’s largest, by mid-2014 in a deal to avoid U.S. missile strikes in retaliation for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack that the U.S. says killed more than 1,000 people.
But Moscow’s ability or willingness to push its ally in Damascus to meet the first deadline in the deal now is being questioned.
Kerry and Lavrov sought last weekend to portray the two powers as united. The gap between them, however, has become more apparent and is threatening to snarl efforts to craft a United Nations Security Council resolution that lays out how Syria is to meet its obligations.
The resolution needs to be complete before the first steps can be taken to impound and either remove or destroy Syria’s arsenal. Diplomats said Western countries split with Russia in a meeting Tuesday over Western demands for tough enforcement of the agreement.
Diplomats hope to complete the resolution by Friday, but if they fall short the work may be delayed further next week because of the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international body based in The Hague, is expected to take several days to complete its analysis of the Syrian “initial declaration,” and then will submit its report to the United Nations. source – LA Times
The rise of Gog and Magog
While Christians around the world wait for and eagerly anticipate the Rapture, the unsaved world is preparing to go through the time of Jacob’s trouble otherwise known as the Great Tribulation. So what is Russia doing? Exactly what the bible said they would be doing. Getting ready.
Front Page: When even the New York Times admits that Barack Obama has been outfoxed, outsmarted and outplayed, you know he has really been outfoxed, outsmarted and outplayed.
But there it was, in Wednesday’s edition: “suddenly Mr. Putin has eclipsed Mr. Obama as the world leader driving the agenda in the Syria crisis.” Putin, wrote Steven Lee Myers for the Times, “appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington’s expense.” Chief among these was that “Russia has at least for now made itself indispensable in containing the conflict in Syria, which Mr. Putin has argued could ignite Islamic unrest around the region, even as far as Russia’s own restive Muslim regions, if it is mismanaged.”
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has been revealed as being spectacularly dispensable. The Syrian jihadis who were counting on his aid are bitterly disappointed that he has (at least for now) backed off on committing the U.S. to intervening militarily; true to form as ever, they are blaming it all on Israel. He and his administration’s top officials, most of whom spent years excoriating George W. Bush for lacking sufficient evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, are definitively unmasked as hypocritical, self-serving and partisan in repeatedly glossing over the fact that Obama still has not proven his central contention, that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons unleashed in Syria on August 21.
Putin talked a lot of sense, while simultaneously issuing Obama a veiled threat, in his op-ed. He warned, quite accurately, that a U.S. strike in Syria could risk “spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders” and added: “Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it,” without quite getting around to mentioning that if the U.S. intervened, Putin himself would be one of the prime movers behind the escalation of the conflict.
Putin also scolded Obama for his reference Tuesday evening to “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” Putin pontificated: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
The irony was thick. Putin may have been aware that Obama notoriously denigrated American exceptionalism at a town hall meeting in Europe during his first Presidential trip there in 2009. Obama denigrated American exceptionalism by equating it with nationalistic chauvinism: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, every country is exceptional, and so none is.
And now Putin was rubbing his face in this, admonishing him that America itself was not exceptional, and driving the point home by saving the world from a wider war in Syria when Obama was itching to get in it, despite failing to provide any proof of his claims that Assad used chemical weapons.
That proof proved to be more elusive by the day. Jason Howerton reported Wednesday in The Blaze that “two Europeans who were allegedly abducted and held hostage for several months in Syria claim they overheard a conversation between their captors suggesting the Syrian rebels were behind the deadly chemical attack in Damascus.…Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin and Italian journalist Domenico Quirico both say they were able to eavesdrop on an English-language Skype session between their abductors in which they allegedly revealed that it was the Syrian rebels who perpetrated the attack so that the West would intervene.”
Likewise, Matthew Schofield reported for McClatchy on Tuesday that Assad “has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.”
These were just the latest additions to a growing mountain of evidence that, as Putin put it in his op-ed, “there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.” In support of that claim, Russia submitted a detailed 100-page report to the United Nations; the Obama Administration, by contrast, has offered only circumstantial evidence that hasn’t convinced even our closest allies to join us in a military strike on Syria.
On May 29, 1453, Ottoman jihad warriors finally conquered Constantinople after a prolonged siege (and seven hundred years of trying) when a careless city worker left a gate open to the city after taking out the garbage, thereby offering an entrée to the Muslim forces, who rushed into the city and laid waste.
What happened this week could prove to be just as accidentally momentous. Russia has suddenly reemerged as a major player, if not the major player, in the Middle East and on the world stage in general. And it has happened not because Putin’s plan for a resolution to the Syrian conflict is particularly imaginative, or even workable (how will anyone be able to be sure that Syria has turned over all its chemical weapons?). No, Russia’s reemergence is due not to Russia’s power or Putin’s statecraft, but because Barack Obama left the gate open for them. The consequences of their rushing into the city have yet to be determined, but they’re unlikely to be good in the long run for free people. source – Front Page
This is what I think we’re seeing:
The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn’t going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives.
In such conditions his weapons could not be fully accounted for, packed up, transported or relinquished, even if he wanted to. But it will take time—weeks, months—for the absurdity to become obvious. And it is time the president wants. Because with time, with a series of statements, negotiations, ultimatums, promises and proposals, the Syria crisis can pass. It can dissipate into the air, like gas.
The president will keep the possibility of force on the table, but really he’s lunging for a lifeline he was lucky to be thrown.
Why is he backing off? Because he knows he doesn’t have the American people and isn’t going to get them. The polls, embarrassingly, show the more people hear the less they support it. The president’s problem with his own base was probably startling to him, and sobering. He knows he was going to lose Congress, not only the House but very possibly—likely, I’d say—the Senate. The momentum was all against him. And he never solved—it was not solvable—his own Goldilocks problem: A strike too small is an embarrassment, a strike too big could topple the Assad regime and leave Obama responsible for a complete and cutthroat civil war involving terrorists, foreign operatives, nihilists, jihadists, underemployed young men, and some really nice, smart people. Obama didn’t want to own that, or the fires that could engulf the region once Syria went up.
His plan was never good. The choices were never good. In any case he was going to lose either in terms of domestic prestige, the foreign result or both. Likely both.
He got himself into it and now Vladimir Putin, who opposes U.S. policy in Syria and repeatedly opposed a strike, is getting him out. This would be coldly satisfying for Putin and no doubt personally galling for Obama—another reason he can’t look as if he’s lunging.
A serious foreign-policy intellectual said recently that Putin’s problem is that he’s a Russian leader in search of a Nixon, a U.S. president he can really negotiate with, a stone player who can talk grand strategy and the needs of his nation, someone with whom he can thrash it through and work it out. Instead he has Obama, a self-besotted charismatic who can’t tell the difference between showbiz and strategy, and who enjoys unburdening himself of moral insights to his peers.
But Putin has no reason to want a Syrian conflagration. He is perhaps amused to have a stray comment by John Kerry be the basis for a resolution of the crisis. The hidden rebuke: It means that when Putin met with Obama at the G-20 last week Obama, due to his lack of competence, got nothing. But a stray comment by the Secretary of State? Sure, why not rub Obama’s face in it.
All this, if it is roughly correct, is going to make the president’s speech tonight quite remarkable. It will be a White House address in which a president argues for an endeavor he is abandoning. It will be a president appealing for public support for an action he intends not to take.
We’ve never had a presidential speech like that!
So what will he say? Some guesses.
He will not really be trying to “convince the public.” He will be trying to move the needle a little, which will comfort those who want to say he retains a matchless ability to move the masses. It will make him feel better. And it will send the world the message:Hey, this isn’t a complete disaster. The U.S. president still has some juice, and that juice can still allow him to surprise you, so watch it.
He will attempt to be morally compelling and rhetorically memorable. He will probably, like Susan Rice yesterday, attempt to paint a graphic portrait of what chemical weapons do—the children in their shrouds, the suffering parents, what such deaths look like and are. This is not meaningless: the world must be reminded what weapons of mass destruction are, and what the indifference of the world foretells.
He will claim the moral high ground. He will temporarily reserve the use of force and welcome recent diplomatic efforts. He will suggest it was his threat of force that forced a possible diplomatic solution. His people will be all over the airwaves saying it was his deft leadership and steely-eyed threat to use force that allowed for a diplomatic break.
The real purpose of the speech will be to lay the predicate for a retrospective judgment of journalists and, later, historians. He was the president who warned the world and almost went—but didn’t go—to war to make a point that needed making.
Before or after the speech there will be some quiet leaking to the press that yes, frankly, the president, with so many difficult domestic issues facing him and Congress in the fall, wanted, sympathetically, to let lawmakers off the hook. They never wanted to vote on this.
Once that was true, they didn’t. But now, having seen the polls and heard from their constituents, a lot of them are raring to go, especially Republicans. It is Democrats who were caught in the crosshairs between an antiwar base and a suddenly hawkish president. But again, a Democratic White House can’t admit it put its people in a fix like that.
In any case it’s good for America that we’ve dodged either bad outcome: Congress votes no and the president moves anyway, or Congress votes no and he doesn’t. Both possibilities contained dangers for future presidents.
The president will assert that as a lover of peace he welcomes the Russian move and reports of the positive Syrian reaction, that he will closely monitor the situation, set deadlines. He will speak of how he understands the American people, after the past 12 years, after previous and painful mistakes by their leaders, would feel so reluctant for any military engagement. He not only understands this reluctance, he shares it. He knows he was elected, in part, because he would not think of war as the first, or even second or third, option. But he has a higher responsibility now, and it is to attempt to warn the world of the moral disaster of the use of weapons of mass destruction. If we don’t move in the firmest opposition our children will face a darker future.
The speech will end. Polls will be taken. Maybe a mild uptick, maybe a flatline. Probably more or less the latter—people have made up their mind. They sense the crisis has passed or is passing. They’re not keen for more presidential rhetoric.
Then get ready for the spin job of all spin jobs. It’s already begun: the White House is beginning to repeat that a diplomatic solution only came because the president threatened force. That is going to be followed by something that will grate on Republicans, conservatives, and foreign-policy journalists and professionals. But many Democrats will find it sweet, and some in the political press will go for it, if for no other reason than it’s a new story line.
It is that Syria was not a self-made mess, an example of historic incompetence. It was Obama’s Cuban Missile Crisis—high-stakes, eyeball-to-eyeball, with weapons of mass destruction and an implacable foe. The steady waiting it out, the inner anguish, the idea that crosses the Telex that seems to soften the situation. A cool, calibrated, chancy decision to go with the idea, to make a measured diplomatic concession. In the end it got us through the crisis.
Really, they’re going to say this. And only in part because this White House is full of people who know nothing—really nothing—about history. They’ve only seen movies.
The only question is who plays Bobby. Get ready for a leak war between Kerry’s staff and Hillary Clinton’s
An important thing. The president will be tempted, in his embarrassment, to show a certain dry and contemplative distance from Putin. The Obama White House should go lightly here: Putin could always, in his pique, decide to make things worse, not better. It would be good for Obama to show graciousness and appreciation. Yes, this will leave Putin looking and feeling good. But that’s not the worst thing that ever happened. And Putin has played this pretty well. source – Peggy Noonan/WSJ
Maybe Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin really did discuss the idea of putting Syrian chemical weapons under international control last week on the sidelines of the G20 conference. Putin sure doesn’t care that Obama’s taking credit for the proposal, or that the administration is posturing like a Mob enforcer. “The only reason why we are seeing this proposal,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, “is because of the U.S. threat of military action.”
Right, Putin is laughing to himself. Whatever. If Obama wants to sell it like a Christmas miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue that’s fine with Putin, because Putin won.
Reset with Russia was originally a strategic priority for the Obama administration because it saw Moscow as the key to getting Iran to come to the negotiating table. Putin, from the White House’s perspective, was destined for the role of junior partner. Now Putin has turned “Reset” upside down. By helping Obama out of a jam with Syria, Putin has made himself the senior partner to whom the White House is now beholden. Accordingly, when Putin proposes the same sort of deal with Iran, with Russia having established its bona fides as an interlocutor for Syria, Obama is almost certain to jump at it.
What’s unclear is whether Obama understands that his foreign policy legacy will be to have ruined the American position in the Middle East, our patrimony of the last seven decades. If the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran signaled weakness, the Russian deal screams surrender. The real surprise is that it’s not Iran kicking the United States out of the region under Obama’s watch, but Putin. source – Weekly Standard
The dirty little not-so-secret behind President Obama’s much-lobbied-for, illegal and strategically incompetent war against Syria is that it’s not about Syria at all. It’s about Iran—and Israel. And it has been from the start.
By “the start,” I mean 2011, when the Obama administration gradually became convinced that it could deal Iran a mortal blow by toppling President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a secular, Baathist strongman who is, despite all, an ally of Iran’s. Since then, taking Iran down a peg has been the driving force behind Obama’s Syria policy.
Not coincidentally, the White House plans to scare members of Congress into supporting the ill-conceived war plan by waving the Iranian flag in their faces. Even liberal Democrats, some of whom are opposing or questioning war with Syria, blanch at the prospect of opposing Obama and the Israel lobby over Iran.
Item for consideration: a new column by the Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the chief think tank of the Israel lobby. Andrew Tabler headlines his piece: “Attacking Syria Is the Best Way to Deal with Iran.” In it, he says:
At first glance, the festering Syria crisis seems bad news for diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear capabilities. In actuality, however, achieving U.S. objectives in the Syria crisis is an opportunity to pressure Iran into making hard choices not only in Syria, but regarding its nuclear program as well. More U.S. involvement to achieve its objectives in Syria will inevitably run counter to Tehran’s interests, be it to punish the Assad regime for chemical weapons use or to show support for the Syrian opposition in changing Assad’s calculus and forcing him to “step aside” at the negotiating table or on the battlefield.
Many in U.S. policymaking circles have viewed containing swelling Iranian influence in Syria and preventing Iran from going nuclear as two distinct policy discussions, as the Obama Administration only has so much “bandwidth” to deal with Middle East threats. But the recent deepening of cooperation between Tehran, Hezbollah and the Assad regime, combined with their public acknowledgement of these activities, indicates that they themselves see these activities as furthering the efficacy of the “resistance axis.”
Like every alliance, its members will only make hard policy choices if the costs of its current policies far outweigh the benefits. U.S. strikes on the Assad regime, if properly calibrated as part of an overall plan to degrade the regime, would force Tehran to become more involved in Syria in order to rescue its stalwart ally. This would be costly for Iran financially, militarily and politically. Those costs would make the Iranian regime and its people reassess aspirations to go nuclear.
Needless to say, such a strategy is bound to be counterproductive, since—by slamming Syria, never mind toppling Assad—Washington is likely to undermine doves and bolster hawks in Tehran and undermine the chances for successful negotiations with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who’ll be speaking at the UN General Assembly later this month.
In fact, both Russia and Iran have signaled recently, in the wake of Syria’s obvious deployment and use of sarin gas and other deadly weapons that they might be getting ready to join the rest of the world in condemning Syria’s chemical warfare, and that makes it far more likely that the much-postponed US-Russia “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria might work. The hawkish Washington Post today notes Rouhani’s new administration in Tehran is softening its tone on Syria, and it reports that the new Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has acknowledged the Syria has erred, saying: “We believe that the government in Syria has made grave mistakes that have, unfortunately, paved the way for the situation in the country to be abused.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, while issuing scathing denunciations of the coming U.S. attack on Syria, has dropped broad hints that he might be willing to join with other nations if and when the United Nations weapons team concludes that Assad used nerve gas, suggesting that Russia might not block a UN Security Council resolution against Syria. In hismuch-reported interview with the Associated Press, Putin insisted on waiting for the UN report:
“If there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council. And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by intelligence agencies through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that.”
Then, according to the Washington Post, Putin declared that he might join a UN-sponsored coalition on Syria:
He said he “doesn’t exclude” backing the use of force against Syria at the United Nations if there is objective evidence proving that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its people. But he strongly warned Washington against launching military action without U.N. approval, saying it would represent an aggression. Russia can veto resolutions at the U.N. Security Council and has protected Syria from punitive actions there before.
But a change in tone on the part of Russia and Iran—the latter of whom the Obama administration still refuses to invite to Geneva II if and when it occurs—won’t mean a thing if the object of war with Syria is to send a message to Iran. As Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for Bloomberg, says, for Israel it’s all about Iran:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel would prefer that Obama enforce his red line on chemical weapons use, because he would like to see proof that Obama believes in the red lines he draws. From Netanyahu’s perspective, Israel isn’t unduly threatened by Assad. Syria constitutes a dangerous, but ultimately manageable, threat.
Netanyahu believes, of course, that Iran, Syria’s primary sponsor, poses an existential threat to his country, and so would like the Iranians to understand very clearly that Obama’s red lines are, in fact, very red. As Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me last night, the formula is simple: “If the Iranians do not fear Obama, then the Israelis will lose confidence in Obama.”
In his round-robin television appearances on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry—now the administration’s über-hawk—repeatedly said that bombing Syria would send a message to Iran. As he told Fox News on Sunday:
“The fact is that if we act and if we act in concert, then Iran will know that this nation is capable of speaking with one voice on something like this, and that has serious, profound implications, I think, with respect to the potential of a confrontation over their nuclear program. That is one of the things that is at stake here.” source – The Nation
Obama experiencing epic fail at G20 Summit in Russia
One interesting moment in what was largely seen as a weak press conference for President Obama Friday was this moment when the Nobel Peace Prize winner referred to the process of securing resolutions from the United Nations as “hocus pocus”:
You know, there would be some resolutions that were being proffered in the United Nations and the usual hocus pocus, but the world and the country would have moved on. So trying to impart a sense of urgency about this, why we can’t have an environment in which over time, people start thinking this we can get away with chemical weapons use–it’s a hard sell, but it’s something I believe in.
To see the leader of the Democrat Party be this dismissive of the United Nations in the run up to his rush to war in the Middle East has to be disconcerting to the House Democrats Obama will need to win congressional approval of his Syria strikes. source – Breitbart
As he touched down in St. Petersburg on Thursday morning, President Obama greeted his host Vladimir Putin with a handshake and a smile. But the cordial greeting belies the tinderbox the two leaders are sitting on, as they posture and deliberate over a potential U.S. strike on Syria — one of Russia’s closest Mideast allies.
Putin escalated concerns about the fallout from any strike when he indicated in an interview published Wednesday that his country could send Syria and its neighbors in the region the components of a missile shield if the U.S. attacks.
U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified this week that the Russians might even replace any military assets the U.S. destroys in a strike.
The warnings raise the possibility of a supposedly “limited” strike on Syria turning into a proxy tit-for-tat between Russia and the U.S. Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., went further during a hearing on Syria on Wednesday, pressing military officials on what the U.S. would do “if Russia decided to strike at us in that theater.”
“We can certainly say that Russia would have options to strike us in that theater in retaliation for us striking their ally,” he warned.
Dempsey declined to engage in that discussion, saying only that “Russia has capabilities that range from the asymmetric, including cyber, all the way up through strategic nuclear weapons. And again, it wouldn’t be helpful in this setting to speculate about that.”
“Putin will live up to what he says,” Fox News military analyst retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said.” If we destroy Syrian military technology, Putin will replace it.”
Putin said in a published interview this week that he’d reconsider the status of a suspended S-300 missile defense contract.
“We have a contract for the delivery of the S-300s. We have supplied some of the components, but the delivery hasn’t been completed,” he said. “We have suspended it for now. But if we see that steps are taken that violate the existing international norms, we shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of such sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world.”
The possibility for Russia stepping up its role in the region makes Obama’s visit to Russia all the more critical. Though the president has nixed a formal one-on-one sitdown with Putin during the G-20 summit, he is expected to speak with the Russian leader on the sidelines. Though he said Wednesday that U.S.-Russian relations have “hit a wall,” he said he’d continue to engage Putin.
Speaking in St. Petersburg Thursday, Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said that “Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price — it will cause a hike in the oil price,” before citing estimates that a $10 rise in oil prices could push down global growth by 0.25 percent. Guangyao also urged a U.N.-negotiated solution to the chemical weapons standoff. Like Russia, China is a major arms supplier to Syria and holds veto power over any Security Council resolution.
The White House went out of its way to say Obama would not hold bilateral discussions with the Russian leader while in St. Petersburg. Instead, Obama will formally meet on the summit’s sidelines with the leaders of France, China and Japan, though a senior administration official said the two presidents will have a chance to speak.
Russia’s resistance is a key reason why the U.N. Security Council so far has not gotten on board with U.S. calls for action in response to the alleged chemical weapons strike against Syrian rebels on August 21.
Putin has been among the loudest critics on the international stage of Obama’s push for a military strike in Syria. He reportedly blasted the push on Wednesday as an “act of aggression.” He has said in recent interviews that a strike would be illegal if the United Nations does not support it.
The president said Wednesday there was far more than his own credibility at stake in responding to the chemical weapons attack.
“I didn’t set a red line, the world set a red line,” he said. “The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of world population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent.” He added that Congress set its own red line when it ratified the treaty.
With Obama in Europe, his top national security aides were to participate Wednesday in public and private hearings at the Capitol to advance their case for limited strikes in retaliation for what the administration says was a deadly sarin gas attack by Assad’s forces in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 with one abstention to authorize the use of force against Syria Wednesday, the first in a series of votes as the president’s request makes its way through Senate and House committees before coming before the two chambers for a final vote, probably sometime next week. source – FoxNews
The Associated Press contributed to this report.