The war-mongering Foreign Relation Committee of the United States Senate at Capitol Hill approved for President Barack Obama for a military solution for Syria.
Senate committee approves Syria war resolution
Gregory Korte, USA TODAY4:23 p.m. EDT September 4, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to use limited force against Syria Wednesday, after adopting amendments from Sen. John McCain designed to urge Obama to “change the military equation on the battlefield.”
The Senate resolution would limit hostilities to 60 or 90 days, narrow the conflict to Syria’s borders and prohibit U.S. troops on Syrian soil. McCain’s amendments didn’t change that scope, but made clear that the end goal should be “a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.”
The vote was 10-7. Five Republicans and two Democrats voted against it.
The committee’s consensus followed closed-door meetings Wednesday morning, which delayed the start of the committee’s meeting by nearly three hours.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted no, and unsuccessfully sought an amendment that would reaffirm Congress’s preeminent role in declaring war, as reflected in the 1973 War Powers Act. “The constitution doesn’t really differentiate between big wars and small wars,” he said. The committee left the constitutional issue unresolved, tabling Paul’s amendment by a 14-5 vote.
Paul remains a staunch opponent of an attack on Syria, but said any suggestion that he would filibuster the resolution was “a misinterpretation by the media.”
The committee also rejected an amendment by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., that would have prohibited air and naval forces from being put into Syrian waters or air space. In the end, Udall was the only one to support it. “If we start down this road, we’re going to be running the campaign from here, and as smart as we are, we’re not that smart,” McCain said. Udall voted against the final resolution.
McCain’s amendments were co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who emphasized that the language would not change the scope of the authority Congress was giving the president, but would help frame the policy behind it. The McCain-Coons amendments seek a “democratic government in Syria,” despite arguments by the Obama administration that “regime change” is not the goal. And they call for giving military and humanitarian aid to “vetted elements of the Syrian opposition forces, including the Free Syrian Army.”
The committee approved those amendments by a voice vote.
One unresolved issue was what happens after the resolution’s time limit. The president would be authorized to strike for 60 days — and another 30 days if he tells Congress it’s necessary. “The question that’s been raised is, what happens on the 91st day? What happens if Assad decides on that 91st day to use chemical weapons again?” asked Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Congress should “make sure Assad understands he can’t just wait us out, use chemical weapons, and face no consequences.”
Democrats who voted against the resolution said the Senate version was much improved over the language the White House suggested, which contained no limits on Obama’s power to rid Syria of chemical weapons. Udall said he feared any action could escalate the Syrian civil war and perhaps expand into regional conflict. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said he gagged every time he saw photos of the Syrian victims of chemical weapons, but voted no because “I have deep concerns about the limits of American power.”
After the vote, Menendez said the committee action bodes well for passage by the full body. He noted the support of McCain on the right, and Durbin on the left, “and I think that’s a pretty good width as far as the spectrum of views in the United States Senate.” He said the timing of the full Senate vote was “above my pay grade.”
Voting yes were Menendez, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sen. Jean Shaheen, D-N.H., Coons, Durbin, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and McCain.
Voting no were Udall, Murphy, Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. and Paul.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., voted present.
This is based on the Americans believe that Syrian Forces used chemical weapons against their own people, recently in the civil war which escalated almost three years ago. This unilateral decision is not sanctioned by the United Nations.
Russia and China opposed US attempt to commit the UN Security Council for a resolution against Syria, since no credible proof was provided at the world’s top most forum for military matters. President Vladimir Putin challenged United States to present their findings to the United Nations, of the proof of Al-Assad’s Forces which purpotedly used chemical weapons against fellow Syrians a few weeks ago.
UN investigators which recently arrived in the Netherlands in a haste after the fear of eminent US Forces attack against Syria, require a few more weeks to conclude on the use of chemical weapons in the civil war.
The world must be reminded that ten years ago, United States and Britain attacked Iraq based on a lie that Saddam Hussain “Possessed chemical and biological weapons, and probably Weapon of Mass Destruction”.
The war which did not get UN Security Council sanction that started on 18 March 2003, had caused the near destruction of Iraq and a lot of people, which include non combatants and innocent people died in vain. There are studies which estimated that till 2008, almost one million lives perished since the US and British Forces lashed the war and eventually an invasion of Iraq.
An international lawyer’s opinion of the attack against Syria is an act of crime.
US attack on Syria would constitute war crime: Alfred Lambremont WebreTue Sep 3, 2013 4:9AM GMT622812Interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre
Even if the US Congress were to approve this under the War Powers Resolution on 1973 the fact remains that any attack by the United States upon Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter prohibition against aggressive war, which is the more serious of war crimes. That is a Nuremberg level war crime.”Press TV has conducted an interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre, international lawyer from Vancouver, about the issue of an alleged chemical attack in Syria.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Let’s start off with the notion that Obama is completely disregarding international law and the United Nations Security Council and its mandate.
Webre: Yes of course. Any attack upon Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter against aggressive war.
Now what Obama is trying to do is that under the US Constitution the US Congress has the sole power to declare war under Article 1 section 8. However, there is the War Powers resolution of 1973, which requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces for remaining for more than 60 days with a further 30 day withdrawal period without authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.
So he is trying to go and get some political cover and some legal cover behind him because of the historic and unprecedented move in the UK House of Commons, which has voted to deny the UK military an attack on Syria and to deny the US its primary ally.
Also in France the polls show that 65 percent of the public is against this strike.
What we see now is that the Congress is very equally divided with even some of the lead senators saying that it’s going to be 50/50.
You have among the Republican hawks [those who] are against it. Because there is no sustained strategy, many of the Democrats are even against it, against approving an attack, because against [what] they say, there is no strategy behind this.
What is remarkable is that even though there is documented evidence that the alleged gas attacks may have been done by US allies in the region using gas manufactured in Saudi Arabia – some even suggesting that Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia was behind these attacks. That has not been raised either in the Executive or in the US Congress.
So whether or not that will be raised in this coming week remains to be seen.
Press TV: Two other issues that have also come up: One, about the duration and the manner of strikes that would be carried out – The Obama administration basically said that it would be surgical, precise and limited in scope. I’d like to get your thoughts on that.
And let’s say he does get Congressional backing to attack Syria. Does that still justify the fact that the international community is against it; that international law is against it; and the United Nations and the Security Council are against it?
Webre: To answer your last question first – Absolutely not. Even if the US Congress were to approve this under the War Powers Resolution on 1973 the fact remains that any attack by the United States upon Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter prohibition against aggressive war, which is the more serious of war crimes. That is a Nuremberg level war crime – and that is starting an aggressive war against another nation.
There is only one exception to that and that is the right of self defense. And in this case the United States is not being attacked so that exception does not apply.
So that under international law the US Congress cannot sanction or provide legal cover to any attack by the US.
And in this case because Britain who was the US’s ally in Iraq where we have an exact analogy to this situation where Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister and George W. Bush, the US president have been judged war criminals by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal and other tribunals. Here it would be even more egregious because the US would not have allies such as the UK.***********
Never the less, this hideous state committed crime of mass murder against a nation must be stopped. Either the alleged Saudi involvement or the proposed US Forces attack against Syria.