Obama to seek Congress' approval for military action against Syria

Published: August 31, 2013
US President Barack Obama (L) speaks next to Vice President Joe Biden (R) at the Rose Garden of the White House August 31, 2013, in Washington. PHOTO: REUTERS

US President Barack Obama (L) speaks next to Vice President Joe Biden (R) at the Rose Garden of the White House August 31, 2013, in Washington. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said Saturday he will ask the US Congress to authorise military action against Syria, lifting the threat of immediate strikes on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Addressing reporters in the Rose garden, Obama said he had decided he would go ahead and take military action on Syria but he believed it was important for American democracy to win the support of lawmakers.

The decision represents a significant gamble for Obama, who has an estranged relationship with lawmakers, especially Republicans, and he risks suffering the same fate as British Prime Minister David Cameron, who lost his own vote on authorising military action in parliament.

“I will seek authorisation for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said.

Obama said that Congressional leaders had agreed to schedule a debate as soon as lawmakers return from their summer break.

That is not due to take place until September 9. There was no immediate suggestion that the House of Representatives and the Senate would be called back into session early.

There had been growing expectations in Washington that military action could even happen as soon as this weekend, but Obama’s decision means that will now not happen.

Nevertheless, the president also said that he had decided that military force should be the price for what the United States says is the “undeniable” use of chemical weapons by Syria.

“Our military has positioned assets in the region,” Obama said.

“We are prepared to strike whenever we choose.”

Complete transcript of the speech can be found here.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Fiz
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:03AM

    Shame! how this man is dying to lay his hands on Syria, all in the name of humanity. Shame,shame!


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:07AM

    Good luck to Obama and good luck to the American people.

    Which country will be the next target after Syria?


  • ModiFied
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:09AM

    Rest assured, American Congress will go the British way. Good for Syria and rest of the world. Wish someone drags the Arab league to the UN and fix responsibilities.


  • Sep 1, 2013 - 12:43AM

    The threat of military action against Syria by USA will create turmoil in financial market as prices of crude will rocket high due to disturbance of middle east . currencies of countries who import oil will depreciate further resulting in higher cost automatic increase in the existing debt. War and conflicts affects adversely those countries too which are now where linked to it.


  • sabi
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:45AM

    Don’t make this mistake you the law makers of America.You wouldn’t get what you intend but great risk of punting world peace at stake.Don’t do it.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:04AM

    Its a good decision, hope congress will not let him involve in the Syrian civil war. If purpose is to kill muslims, then both sides in Syria are doing a fantastic job.


  • Pakistani
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:55AM

    DOUBLE STANDARS OF USA….in afghanistan they are fighting against alqaeda whereas in syria they are not only supporting alqaeda but are also providing intelligence help against Assad’s regime…


    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:11AM

    go obama go……indians and israel are with u….alhamdullilah……..


  • Fiz
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:37AM

    Shame! how this man is dying to lay his hands on Syria, all in the name of humanity. Sharamnak!


  • Sexton Blake
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:51AM

    So far the US Congress have shown themselves to be a bunch of chicken hawks who are easily controlled by shadowy background figures, who’s collective name I will not give, because otherwise ET may not wish to print me. Thus, with the willingness of Congress to be easily controlled I would imagine approval to attack Syria would be virtually automatic. However, I thought exactly the same about the UK Government and I was wrong. Therefore, let us fervently hope that a little sanity is creeping into Western Governments, although I am not holding my breath whilst I wait.for a complete recovery of the American patient. Interestingly, although not important, I noticed that Australia, one of America’s vassal states gave approval of President Obama’s decision to attack Syria. I personally, am waiting for the release of American intelligence which establishes the Syrian Government’s involvement with chemical warfare. Once again, I will not hold my breath, because I have a bad feeling that the US does not have definitive proof, and of course since when has America needed real proof to go to war.


  • Nauman
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:57AM

    It is ridiculous to witness such announcements made by the so called torchbearers of global peace and prosperity. They themselves kill innocent infants and children in Iraq, Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan and yet pay their sympathies for the ones who died in Syria just for the sake of their interests along with the interests of their closest ally Israel. UK’s Parliament has voted against any military action on Syria and China and Russia have also vetoed UN resolution on Syria. So If America still goes for an attack then it is a clear indication of disrespecting International community and UN. On the other hand Putin have asked Americans to wait for the report of UN inspectors and give concrete evidence of any usage of chemical weapons in Syria.If an attack on Syria is still made without providing enough evidence to the world then Americans will make it even clearer that they are nothing but a bunch of power-drunk retards who want to control and suppress human race for their motives and don’t give one iota respect to human dignity.

    P.S : US does not need any parliamentary approval for the military action. So it looks like it is just a formality.


  • Imran
    Sep 1, 2013 - 4:28AM

    Obama has climbed the tree and doesn’t know how to get down and calling congress for help. He knows that congress will vote against his decision and it will be easy for him to withdraw.


  • Raj Kafir
    Sep 1, 2013 - 5:28AM

    Way to go Mr President.


  • Mirza
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:46AM

    “I will seek authorisation for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said.”
    According to the US constitution only the congress has the power to declare war. The president of the oldest democracy in the world is not a king or dictator and has to follow the UK lead.
    As far as killing Muslims we are doing a great job ourselves. For 35 years in Afghanistan, more than a decades between Iraq and Iran, at the hands of TTP in Pakistan, Libyan and Egyptian civil wars and now Syria where more than 100,000 have already been killed by Muslims. The process of killings is not slowing down but gaining momentum.


  • Gp65
    Sep 1, 2013 - 8:02AM

    It is interesting. If USA does not interfere in Egypt, that is considered a problem. If it interferes in Syria despite such a huge provocation, it is considered a problem. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Anyway, there is an even chance that the Congress will not approve any in lateral action without UN support this time around.

    @Pakistani – some of the people opposing Assad are believed to be Al Qaeda but there are many ordinary Syrians that are also opposing Assad. What is the basis of your claim that US is supporting Al Qaeda? Also what do you have o say about the role of Saudi Arabia in this whole mess?Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 9:48AM

    Is the American congress/British parliament a world body like UNO ?,what is this joke,what kind of approval.Listen dear American no more miss use of friends for the muslim destruction or personal interest.The balloon of “Might is Right” has “Burst” so come back to senses.


  • Ehsan Ullah
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:33PM

    I think we are about to witness a 3rd World War. If America attack Syria and Russia pounces over Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel are not far apart to utilize their opportunities then what do you say about India, Pakistan, UK, China and Korean states???
    Once Albert Einstein said that I don’t know which Weapons will be used to fight World War III but 4th world war will be fought with Stones and sticks. Advance congratulations to all those who will survive.


  • Gp65
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:45PM

    You make it appear as though seeking permission from Congress before going to war is an act of weakness. By that logic I am sure you think Musharraf was very brave to do Kargill without anyone’s approval. but what Obama is doing now is true democracy. At a time when severe cuts are being placed on education and healthcare due o a fiscal crunch, any large scale commitment to a war especially at a time that US has not been attacked, can only be undertaken if US public approves as judged by the votes of their Congressmen who are polling their constituents.

    @Naumann : US does not have a parliament, so if for some strange reason it needed parliamentary approval, it would have no way to get it. US does have Congress though and Congressional approval is required for going o war, so it is NOT a formality.

    @lalagee: I agree with many of your posts but not this one. War is not a video-game. There are lives involved. What is happening in Syria is a huge human tragedy. While the chemical weapons if it occurred is horrendous, unless it is confirmed that it was indeed Assad who used them, action against him would not be justified. In any case it is for American people to decide if USA should get involved or not.Recommend

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