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Obama Delays Call to Arms in Search of Support from Congress

On Saturday, President Barack Obama announced that, although he himself has the power to send the US to war, he will ask for authorisation from Congress before taking any military action against Syria for its use of chemical weapons; the first sign of caution that he has shown in his recent actions against Syria.

Obama restated that he has already made his mind up as to the action the US should take, but that he has been advised to strengthen his position by seeking the support of lawmakers in Congress, who will begin talks once they return from recess on the 9th of September.

The President gave a televised speech from the White House, in which he told the nation; “while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective.”

President Obama giving his speech from the White House Rose Garden
President Obama giving his speech from the White House Rose Garden. (The Daily Beast)

Unlike previous US-led military action in the Middle East, Obama does not command the widespread support amongst his own country, or from other governments, and lacks a mandate from the US Security Council. This increases his personal risk once set on a course of military action.

Related article: How to Trade the Ongoing Events in Syria

Aaron David Miller, the vice president at the Wilson Centre, explained that Obama’s decision to seek the approval of congress is proof that he is concerned about the risk of taking the US to war on his own, and that “he realizes it’s filled with all kinds of risks, and he needs to share responsibility for it.”

The problem with Obama’s decision to delay the call to war, is that foreign intelligence agencies will remain trained on Syria until that call is made, reducing the resources available for intelligence gathering in other parts of the world. Also there is the possibility that a terrorist group, such as Hezbollah, could attack a US target in a pre-emptive strike to warn the US from further involvement in Syria.

On the 30th August the US revealed intelligence that the 21st August chemical attack that killed 1,400 people was carried out by Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC that hair and blood samples from the dead proved that the chemical used was the nerve agent Sarin; adding Assad to a list that includes Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, of people that have used Sarin gas in times of war.

Obama claims that US forces are in place to carry out an attack, and that he is “prepared to give that order. We are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com


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