US to take military action against Syrian regime: Obama

Obama Syria military action.jpg

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Saturday announced his decision to take military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Though he announced his decision to bypass the UN Security Council, which he alleged has been paralysed, Obama said he would seek the US Congress' approval for his administration to take military action against the Assad regime for using chemical weapons against internationally-established norms.
But Obama did not announce a time frame for the action.
India asks its nationals to move out of Syria
In an address to the nation from the Rose Garden of the White House, Obama accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, urged Congress to debate and vote for his decision on military action against the Syrian regime.
"After careful deliberation, I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian targets. I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons," Obama said.
"This attack is an attack on human dignity and it risks making a mockery of the global prohibition of the ban on chemical weapons," he said. "In a world with many dangers, this attack must be confronted. The US should take military action," he asserted.
"I will seek authorisation for the use of force by the representatives of the US people, the members of the US Congress," he said urging lawmakers to put aside their differences to vote for military action against Syrian regime.
"Some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment. Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are united as one nation," he said.
Presenting his case to the American people and the Congress, Obama said the US 'cannot and must not turn a blind eye' to what happened in Damascus.
"America must keep its commitments," he said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel immediately came out in support of Obama. Hagel, "supports" Obama's decision on "congressional authorisation for use of force in Syria, agrees we cannot turn blind eye to Syrian chemical weapons use," his spokesman George Little, said.
The remarks by Obama came a day after his administration released its intelligence assessment blaming the Assad regime for using chemical weapons against its own people that killed 1,429, including at least 426 children.
Obama said on Friday that the US would not send its 'boots on the ground', but is looking for a 'limited' military action, with the sole purpose of holding Assad's regime accountable for the use of chemical weapons, which is in gross violations of the well-established international conventions.

An anti-Syria war protest in Sydney, Australia - AFP
Later on Saturday, Senior administration officials were scheduled to hold unclassified conference calls with senators as part of their effort to continue consultations regarding the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons during the August 21 attack.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were among others set to attend the briefing. Top Republican Senator John Cornyn demanded that Obama should take Congressional approval for any military action against Syria.
"Before any military action is taken in Syria, the president should call Congress back into session and ask for a vote on the authorisation to use force," he said.
In his hurriedly convened Rose Garden speech, Obama said the military attack against Syria would not be an open-ended intervention.
"We would not put boots on the ground. Instead our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behaviour and degrade their capacity to carry it out," he said.
Asserting that a military attack on Syria could happen at any time, Obama said the US military has positioned assets in the region.
"The chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive. It will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. And I am prepared to give that order," he said.
Obama said his administration would provide briefing to every member of the Congress.
"All of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote," he said.
"Yet while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorisation, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual," he added.
British Prime Minister David Cameroon was quick to come in support of military action by Obama.
"I understand and support Barack Obama's position on Syria," he said on Twitter. Senator Bob Corker, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, also welcomed the decision by Obama to seem Congressional authorisation of his military action.
"At this point in our country's history, this is absolutely the right decision, and I look forward to seeing what the administration brings forward and to a vigorous debate on this important authorisation," he said. In the past several days, lawmakers have been urging Obama to seek approval from the Congress on any military action against Syria. 

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