Friday 30 August 2013

Obama 'mulling' his line of attack

US ready to decide on military action in Syria 'on our own' - White House

President Obama could well consider a military strike in Syria despite the British Parliament rejecting a motion authorizing the UK’s involvement in the conflict.

30 August, 2013

White House officials told reporters Thursday that the statement from United States’ closest ally, reluctance from the United Nations Security Council, and widespread uncertainty in the US Congress would not be enough to sway Obama from a limited missile strike on Syrian targets. Obama, who has been criticized for not consulting with Congress over Syria, met with lawmakers and other top leaders in a White House conference call Thursday.

We have seen the result of the Parliament vote in the UK tonight. The US will continue to consult with the UK government - one of our closest allies and friends. As we've said, President Obama's decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States,” said a White House statement following the meeting. “He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.”

The administration also plans to release a declassified intelligence report on the recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria Friday, according to Major Garrett of CBS News. The White House will reportedly release the legal justification for military action if Obama orders it, as well. 

When the president reaches a determination about the appropriate response…and a legal justification is required to substantiate or to back up that decision, we’ll produce one on our own,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in the hours before the British vote. 

Thursday’s intelligence presentation did not implicate Assad in the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, White House aides told the New York Times, but administration officials believe they have “enough evidence to carry out a limited strike that would deter the Syrian government from using these weapons again.” 

Assad and the Syrian government have blamed the chemical attack, documented in gruesome footage throughout the Internet, on opposition forces. The White House has admitted that the US has “no smoking gun” to prove Assad was behind the attack, leaving enough doubt for the British House of Commons to reject military action. 

While UK MPs debated possible a possible missile strike US Congress was in the midst of a summer recess, although Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said a vote would not be necessary. 

There have been consultations. There will be more consultations,” she told Time magazine. “This is not to send troops over, as I understand it…obviously, it would be good to wait, but if time is of the essence that’s the decision the administration has to make. I think there is lots of ways of doing consultations which is adequate.”

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