Zee Media Bureau
Washington: US President Barack Obama`s efforts to get a Congressional nod for a military strike against Syria received a boost on Tuesday with key Republican leaders backing the move.
"I`m going to support the President`s call for action. I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action," House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner told reporters at the White House after meeting Obama.
Boehner, a Republican, argued that the "use of chemical weapons is a barbarous act" that has to be responded to, and only the US has the capability to stop President Bashar al- Assad and to warn others around the world that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated.
Hawkish Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham also lent their support to Obama after holding talks with him.
"A vote against this would be catastrophic in its consequences, not only as far as this issue is concerned, but in the future," McCain told reporters.
The Republican Party has the majority in House of Representatives.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi too supported Boehner.
"The speaker was very clear? I associated myself with his remarks...I don`t think Congress will reject (Obama`s request for authorisation)," she told reporters.
With this, the decks seem to be clear for a Congressional authorisation for a strike against Syria.
Before the meeting, Obama hoped the Congress will authorise his planned strike against Syria as early as next week.
"I am," Obama told reporters when asked if he is confident of getting Congressional approval for a military strike against the Assad regime over the alleged use of chemical weapons that killed more than 1,400 people.
"I would not be going to Congress if I wasn`t serious about consultations, and believing that by shaping the authorisation to make sure we accomplish the mission we will be more effective," Obama told reporters before his meeting with top American lawmakers during which he briefed them and consulted with them on his decisions on Syria.
Obama also said that Syria`s case is different from Iraq and Afghanistan as he expressed satisfaction over the military plan developed by the Pentagon.
"This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan," Obama said
"The military plan that has been developed by the joint chiefs and that I believe is appropriate is proportional. It is limited. It does not involve boots on the ground," he said.
He said it will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime, but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms, that there are consequences.
Meanwhile, a joint missile test by Israel and United States took place in Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday fueling fear of an attack on Syria.
The Defence Ministry stated that the test was conducted with the US Missile Defence Agency.
The Russian Defence Ministry had earlier detected the launch of two ballistic “objects” towards the eastern Mediterranean from the central part of the sea, but there were no signs of any missile strike in Damascus, Russia`s state-run RIA news agency said.
(With PTI Inputs)