Zee Media Bureau
Damascus: The possibility of a military strike on Syria seemed inching one step closer to reality when a key US Senate panel approved a draft resolution allowing a 60-day military action in Syria that would be put to vote on Wednesday.
As President Barack Obama is making extreme efforts to win Congressional support on Syria war vote, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders reached a deal on the draft resolution allowing the use of military force in Syria.
The draft resolution permits military action in Syria upto a time limit of 60 days, after which Obama could extend the duration "for a single period of 30 days" if he obtains further specific Congressional approval.
Demanding the operation to be restricted to a "limited and tailored use of the United States Armed Forces", the draft also disallows any boots on the ground in Syria.
Days after Obama announced that he would seek a Congessional nod for Syria plan, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an extensive hearing that lasted for over four hours.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey made a strong case for the strike in the hearing in which the deal was reached by Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the panel, and Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Robert Menendez said that the draft resolution has been closed and the members are expected to vote on it today.
Together we have pursued a course of action that gives the president the authority he needs to deploy force in response to the Assad regime`s criminal use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, while assuring that the authorization is narrow and focused, limited in time, and assures that the Armed Forces of the United States will not be deployed for combat operations in Syria," Menendez said in a statement.
If the draft is approved by the committee on Wednesday, it will be sent to the full Senate for a vote after members return on September 9 from their August recess.
The House of Representatives must also pass its own version of the military authorization and the two must be reconciled before they can be submitted for Obama`s signature.
Given the strength of the Democratic Party, the resolution is expected to sail through easily from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with even key opposition Senators like John McCain announcing his support for it.
Senator Bob Croker, Ranking Member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, said there is a "good chance" that the resolution would be passed by the Committee.
With Agency Inputs