Obama will not use force against Syria without Congress' support: adviser

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 6, 2013 10:05am EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama does not intend to authorize U.S. military force in Syria if lawmakers vote against his proposal seeking action amid allegations of chemical weapons use by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a top aide said on Friday.

"The president of course has the authority to act, but it's neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him," deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told National Public Radio.

The comments come as lawmakers weigh whether to pass a resolution authorizing limited strikes against Syria. U.S. officials allege Assad's government used sarin nerve gas in a deadly attack on its civilians on August 21.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing before lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives this week, has refused to say what he thought Obama would do if Congress did not agree to act on Syria in response to U.S. allegations of chemical weapons use.

Lawmakers are divided over whether and how to respond, and many are still undecided despite efforts by Obama administration officials to build support, including calls from the president.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a modified version of Obama's resolution on Wednesday, and the full Senate is likely to begin voting next Wednesday.

The timing of a vote in the House remained unclear. Both chambers must approve the measure for it to pass.

Worried about getting embroiled in Syria's civil war, many U.S. lawmakers have voiced concerns over using military force without backing from the United Nations or a broader coalition of other countries. Some have also said they want the United States to pursue other diplomatic and humanitarian options.

But Blinken cited the severe sanctions imposed on Assad already, and said that the UN has failed to act on even more basic steps.

"At this point, we have unfortunately exhausted everything," he told NPR's "Morning Edition" program.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey)

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Comments (7)
Lemming wrote:
This article is in FACT incorrect… The President intends on striking Syria regardless of what congress decides. Congress is only considering the price tag and who will foot the bill etc.!

Sep 06, 2013 10:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AllNamesTaken wrote:
Many people dont realise that the egyptian revolution that outsted Mubarak was orchestrated by the Al Quida who used the muslim brothorhood as a lever. Many peace loving egyptians joined that movement thinking it would bring freedom. Once Mubarak was out, the next step of al queda was to get the Muslim Brotherhood to implement slowly and silently, the strong Al Quida laws restricting even those freedom that was granted by Mubarak. Now, next step was then to destablise Israel, Al Quida’s sworn enemy. Many think Al Quida sworn enemy is USA, (incorrect). Their sworn enemy is Israel. They cannot destroy Israel until they break USA. So Al Quida operatives wage proxy war with USA. Meanwhile, Al Quida wants to destablise countries around Israel with a view to creating Armegeddon. They have partially achieved that when Mubarak was toppled & Muslim Brotherhood creeply supported militants in Israel. Now the next target is Syria & Lebanon. Once those contries are destablised, then Al Quida’s sinister & evil plans will bear fruit. i.e attacking Israel from all sides and total wipeout of Israel. They do not believe in a state of israel. They just dont want Israel to exist. Americans should not go to war with Syria, many of the rebels are infiltrated by Al Quida. Al quida knows that Assad would not allow Al quida inside his country to attack israel. America has one weakness. Its foreign policy is ‘predictable’. If there is an invasion/chemal weapons handling, it will attack, because it thinks other countries will begin to undermine itself (america) if america remains silent. Actually, this is having an opposite effect. America’s policy & attitude is infact distancing America from rest of the world. Al Quida & its rebels painted syria in bad light by lodging those chemical weapons, knowing that America will respond and remove Assad, efffectively doing the job for Al Quida to proceed with its ULTIMATE goal of surrounding Israel and destroying it. Imagine, If Assad had launched those chemicals, why would he let UN personnell inspect those sites? Unless, he had nothing to do with those chemical. Americans should ask local nuns (christian) who are not for profit what the ground realities are. Remember these nuns wont disclose much because they dong get involved inpolitics, but whatever they disclose is more true than the lay person who has certain vested interest. And when investigating never let White person investigate amongst the Syrans, Afghans, Egyptians. Trust me, bc White people can be easily made to believe anything, these locals will tell whatever benefits them. NOT THE TRUTH. Lets hope & pray Israel/America realises this before its too late. God Bless America whose intentions are good, but misguided. Lets hope Obama’s legacy is not another Iraq like GW Bush. Someone pls tell Obama this.

Sep 06, 2013 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
Like Ron Paul recently said, these comments are strictly political. The American people want nothing to do with Syria after we already saw the results of Iraq. As Dr. Paul said, Obama has already said he doesn’t need the approval of Congress. The world knows he is a tyrant and cares nothing for the Constitution unless to get’s him a bump in the polls. Now back to shining your Nobel peace prize with the blood of innocent Syrians and get to your next round of golf Mr. Obama.

Sep 06, 2013 11:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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