Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves plan to strike Syria

Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves plan to strike SyriaReuters / Joshua Roberts

The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Wednesday to approve President Barack Obama's plan to strike Syria in retaliation for the reported use of chemical weapons by leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
A committee vote on Wednesday afternoon ended with the advancement of a bill compelling the US military responds to Assad’s regime, and will next go to the full Senate for debate.
The committee voted 10-to-7 in favor of using military force, with one lawmakers voting only “present.”
Should Congress move to approve the president’s request, the US could soon initiate a limited strike on Syria that is meant to reprimand Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21 outside the city of Damascus. The Obama administration says more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of women and children, were killed in that assault.
Wednesday’s vote came only one day after the committee grilled Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey about the administration’s plans for Syria.
The president and leading members of his cabinet have made repeated pleas in recent days for Congress to approve action against Assad that would be limited in scope and meant to reprimand the Syrian leader and degrade his ability to further use chemical weapons.
Following a swell in criticism, Obama said over the weekend that he would ask Congress to approve a strike instead of pursuing other routes to authorize a strike. According to the president, Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons constituted a dissolution of international norms that warranted a response from the US.