Syria strike plan gets US Senate panel nod; Obama repeats ‘red line’ warning
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 05, 2013, 14:35
  
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Washington: In an initial victory for Barack Obama, his proposal on Syria won the approval of a US Senate committee as the President repeated in Sweden that the ‘red line’ set for the use of chemical weapons, was not “made up” by him but it was set by the world.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday passed the Syria resolution by a 10-7 vote, authorising the use of limited military force for a time limit of 60 days, extendable to one month on conditions.

The resolution is now slated for a full Senate vote next week and if approved it will be up for voting in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile President Obama who left US yesterday for a four day trip that includes G20 Summit, was in Sweden when he repeated the “red line” warning asserting that it “wasn't something I just kind of made up” but it was an outcome of international treaties.

"I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line," said Obama. "Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the 'Syria Accountability Act' that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for," said Obama.

Speaking at a joint news briefing with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Obama said, "The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war”.

Obama would today head to St Petersburg, Russia for G20 Summit, where too, he is expected to make a strong case to win international support even as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against unilateral action on Syria.

Back home, though Obama’s Syria plan has cleared the first hurdle on way to win Congressional support, it is yet to be seen if the plan would undergo a smooth sailing in the full Senate vote next week and the House of Representatives thereafter. In the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote, the resolution was opposed by two main Senate Republican contenders, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Paul, known for his anti-intervention stance, questioned those Senators voting in favour of the military action, citing American citizens’ aversion to war.

He said, "These senators who are going to vote for this, they need to go home and talk to their people or look at what their people are saying because people do not want to get involved in Syria and, despite what the people want, their senators are going to vote the opposite way, I have a bad feeling”.

The vote reflected the divide among US lawmakers on Syria issue as three Republicans, John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, voted in favour of the resolution, while two Democrats, Tom Udall and Chris Murphy voted “no”.

In the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote, the resolution was opposed by two main Senate Republican contenders, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Paul, known for his anti-intervention stance, questioned those Senators voting in favour of the military action, citing American citizens’ aversion to war.

He said, "These senators who are going to vote for this, they need to go home and talk to their people or look at what their people are saying because people do not want to get involved in Syria and, despite what the people want, their senators are going to vote the opposite way, I have a bad feeling”.

The vote reflected the divide among US lawmakers on Syria issue as three Republicans, John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, voted in favour of the resolution, while two Democrats, Tom Udall and Chris Murphy voted “no”.


First Published: Thursday, September 05, 2013, 09:20


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