Doubtful Obama calls for action against Syria

Doubtful Obama calls for action against Syria
Wed Sep 4, 2013 22:42:29

US President Barack Obama, disappointed by allies, has repeated allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and called for acting against Damascus.

“We believe that chemical weapons were used,” Obama said during a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt in Stockholm on Wednesday.

“I do think that we have to act, because if we don’t, we are effectively saying that even though we may condemn it and issue resolutions and so forth and so on, someone who is not shamed by resolutions can continue to act with impunity,” he claimed.

“Keep in mind I’m somebody who opposed the war in Iraq, and I’m not interested in repeating mistakes about basing decisions on faulty intelligence,” Obama said.

The US president also appeared certain he would gain congressional authorization for his strike plan for Syria.

"I believe that Congress will approve it," Obama said when asked what he would do if Congress rejects his call for action.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Rand Paul criticized the Obama administration for reducing Congress' role in the authorization process to "constitutional theater."

By attacking Syria, the White House would be "making a joke" of Congress if lawmakers vote against US intervention, Paul said during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

President Obama said he was “hopeful” he would be able to convince his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a key ally of the Syrian government, to back his strike plan against Syria, during the G20 summit.

“We’ve kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress. But I have not written off the idea that the US and Russia are going to continue to have common interests even as we have profound differences,” he said.

“Do I hold out hope that Mr. Putin may change his position on some of these issues? I’m always hopeful, and I continue to engage him,” Obama added.

The call for military action against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the Syrian government of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false flag operation.


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