Senate Syria resolution: 60 days with an option for 90, no ground troops

posted at 8:41 am on September 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Late last night, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee settled on new language for an authorization to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons.  Unlike the language proposed by the White House, this explicitly forbids the use of ground troops, limits the action to only Syria, and authorizes force for a maximum of 90 days with the specific intent to stop Bashar al-Assad from using WMDs in the future:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders have reached an agreement on the language for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria for up to 90 days — but with no “boots on the ground.” …

As drafted, the language worked out between Menendez and ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would authorize the use of force for 60 days, with provisions making it possible that the authorization would be extended for 30 days after that, according to Senate sources.

Via TPM, here’s the draft coming to members of the Foreign Relations Committee:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Syria AUMF

The bar on ground troops isn’t quite as explicit as some would like, though:

Over the last two days, Corker had been insisting on a 30-day deadline for Obama to order any military action against Syria, but Democrats objected to that requirement.

The Tennessee Republican had also sought a flat-out prohibition on the insertion of any American ground forces into Syria.

But Democrats insisted that Obama should be allowed to do so under limited circumstances, such as special-forces operations or to secure stocks of chemical weapons. Corker aides noted the bill includes a prohibition on using American ground forces for “combat operations,” although it is silent on using troops in emergency situations.

What qualifies as an “emergency”?  This will likely be a sticking point for the resolution, but it’s a broader problem than just semantics.  So far, advocates for a military strike seem very confident that Syria and its allies won’t respond to a blatant act of war.  What happens if Syria starts firing anti-ship missiles at our fleet in the Mediterranean?  What happens if Assad sends a division over the Golan Heights, or Hezbollah invades Israel from Lebanon in retaliation?

We might need to put boots on the ground in a hurry in those cases — and that’s where the folly of limited authorizations are exposed.  If Syria responds by attacking the US or our allies, President Obama will have full latitude in sending ground troops under the War Powers Act, at least for 9o days.  He could attack Syria, Iran, and invade western Iraq all over again if he determined that any or all of that was necessary to respond to an attack, which itself was a response to American attacks authorized by Congress in a manner that Capitol Hill thought would be “limited.”  Any attack we launch that is significant enough to damage the Assad regime is very likely to provoke this outcome.

Meanwhile, the House hasn’t settled on specific language yet — they’re still out of town — but a few proposals seem to line up roughly with what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is contemplating:

A pair of House Democrats and a senior House Republican on the Intelligence Committee have released new draft resolutions dealing with President Barack Obama’s authority to attack Syria, illustrating the resistance to the White House’s initial proposal. …

Nunes proposal could be attractive to House Republicans, many of whom are solidly against attacking Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. A draft copy of his bill, provided to POLITICO, requires Obama to come to Congress within 60 days to provide information in nine areas to justify the use of force.

The bill would require an explanation of attempts to build a coalition; a “detailed plan for military action in Syria, including specific goals and military objectives;” what would qualify as degrading the chemical weapons supply; an explanation how a limited military strike would encourage regime change, prevent terrorists from taking control of power or weapons, secure the chemical weapons and deter their future use; how a strike would prevent Iran and Russia from keeping Assad in power; information about Al Qaeda’s access to weapons; an explanation of whether weapons from Libya are being used by the Syrian opposition and an estimation of the cost.

In contrast, Van Hollen and Connolly are supportive of strikes against Syria, but they think Obama’s language ““could open the door to large scale military involvement in Syria and the region.”

“We will not support that resolution,” the pair write in a letter to their colleagues.

Their resolution prohibits ground forces in Syria, limits attacks to 60 days and prohibits Obama from attacking again, unless Obama says that Assad’s regime uses chemical weapons again. The resolution also says Obama can only attack Syria with the goal of preventing use of chemical weapons, not to prevent the stockpiling of them.

In the end, the House will probably just debate whatever comes out of the Senate, since the language there is as close to the kind of limitations that have a prayer of passage in either chamber.  That will also make it easier for Congress to kick the whole mess back to Obama rather than spend a lot of time owning the policy, assuming of course it passes at all — which is not going to be easy.  But Congress had better be prepared to see its limiting language become moot very quickly, and be prepared for a much bigger war as a consequence of this policy.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Just say No!

myiq2xu on September 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

“Come on Charlie Brown. Don’t read into it. Just kick it.”

onomo on September 4, 2013 at 8:46 AM

We are fools being led by fools.

JimBob on September 4, 2013 at 8:47 AM

And they think Obama should be trusted to actually follow this because why exactly……????

Our government is a ship of fools…

Caseoftheblues on September 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

this explicitly forbids the use of ground troops, limits the action to only Syria, and authorizes force for a maximum of 90 days with the specific intent to stop Bashar al-Assad from using WMDs in the future:

What happened to the “hours not days” talk from Kerry, Hagel, and the thin-skinned rat? There are a hell of a lot of hours attached to a 90-day blank check the Senate is proposing.

The House should just say no and provide Boehner and Cantor suggestions about where they can put their support of Obama.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Tar baby. Don’t do it.

LaughterJones on September 4, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Only problem is that 90 days means this is about overthrowing Assad and we know how swimmingly that will pan out with AQ ready to fill the void. I don’t understand the mentality that says we are obligated to overthrow regimes that are not our enemy in favor of those that are.

Southernblogger on September 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Voting for Obama’s war
*sigh*

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Dammit, Corker…Why do I waste my time calling and emailing when my senators will not represent me? Come on, Tennessee…call the jerk and then never vote for him again. Surely we can do better. This is Tennessee for heavens sake. The only state in the union with a higher percent of the vote AGAINST Obama was Oklahoma and yet our two RINO senators vote WITH Obama at least 90% of the time. Come on!

pannw on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

So this is how Armageddon begins. I have been wondering how it would all get started.

HotAirian on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

There has to be some Utopian solution void of all violence, greed and pollution…

mjbrooks3 on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Idiots thinking this is going to be limited

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Because that limited engagement worked so well when Clinton was containing Saddam. Assad has powerful clients and will survive. If you strike at the king, you must kill the king. Otherwise, you’re just sowing the seeds for more war years later. Here’s to ten years of failed inspections, sanctions and finally another war.

xuyee on September 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Penn…I’m in the same boat with McCain

No use calling him….just ignore me

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Dear leader speaking now…hopes to have a coalition (dream on)

He’ll spend 10 minutes on one question with absolutely nothing to say

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

If you’re not going to create the Syrian Sea and drown both Assad and the AQ/MB Alliance, what’s the point?

Steve Eggleston on September 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

The bill would require an explanation of attempts to build a coalition; a “detailed plan for military action in Syria, including specific goals and military objectives;” what would qualify as degrading the chemical weapons supply; an explanation how a limited military strike would encourage regime change, prevent terrorists from taking control of power or weapons, secure the chemical weapons and deter their future use; how a strike would prevent Iran and Russia from keeping Assad in power; information about Al Qaeda’s access to weapons; an explanation of whether weapons from Libya are being used by the Syrian opposition and an estimation of the cost.

LOL. Yeah, good luck with that.

Senator: Explain how a limited missile strike would encourage regime change.

Lurch: Because it would. We’d be sending a strong message.

Senator: Explain how a limited missile strike would prevent Iran and Russia from keeping Assad in power.

Lurch: Because it would. We’d be sending a strong message.

Senator: Explain how a limited missile strike would secure Assad’s chemical weapons and deter their future use.

Lurch: Because it would. We’d be sending a strong message . . . . And hey, do you mind if we take a break now, because Senator McCain and I would like to get back to our game of Angry Birds.

AZCoyote on September 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Corker’s posturing and preening should not be mistaken for some sort of principled stance. His border security amendment to the “immigration reform” bill was just another in a very long–and getting longer by the day–list of “ACCOMODATIONS” to Obama. Hey, but he gets invited for a round of golf with Dear Leader, so it’s all good!

Please don’t mistake any of this posturing and preening as anything but poiltical protectionism. This is a debacle inside a farce wrapped up in toilet paper. There is not clear evidence that this was NOT a false flag operation, and in fact, there IS evidence that it WAS a false flag operation to gin up US engagement–and there are a host of possible actors to a conspiracy to do such a thing. Qui Bono? Al Nusra benefits; not Assad. So, why would Assad do it?

No to an attack on Syria. No. No. No. It’s a trojan horse; a cover for something else.

The American taxpayer does not have a “Responsibility 2 Protect” the entire globe; we cannot afford it. Moreover, Obama’s war on the military is clear; and he’s just bankrupting and destroying it further by these repeated invasions/attacks/acts of war under humanitarian cover. Obama will do everything in his power to degrade and destroy our national security–from depleting our military resources to opening up our borders to Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.

This is not going to end well, whether or not we end up in a regional war. We are mistaken to do this; Boehner and Cantor are cowards to support it. Anyone who votes to support this is a political COWARD.

mountainaires on September 4, 2013 at 8:58 AM

What about Water balloons – can we throw water balloons?

jake-the-goose on September 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

And they think Obama should be trusted to actually follow this because why exactly……????

Our government is a ship of fools…

Caseoftheblues on September 4, 2013 at 8:48 AM

The narrative (I hate that word) is already written.

This isn’t about Obama. This is about American credibility in the world. Congress has to blindly go along with Captain Kickass- even though he could have avoided the problem by not blustering about red lines. To not bomb the crap out of Syria would mean that America no longer stands up for the downtrodden or something. Iran would no longer fear American power. It would damage our relationships around the world.

I am simply paraphrasing the MSM and Kerry’s testimony yesterday.

In the meantime, the real questions are being ignored like what happens if sarin is used after these operations. How can you deter Assad and not weaken him (since regime change by military force is explicitly rejected as a military objective). And what happens if, thanks to the Navy and Air Force acting on its behalf, Al Qaeda takes control of Syria as it did in Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood?

What then Captain Kickass? Another speech about tolerance? Boots-on-ground? Millions more spent on cruise missiles over Damascus killing even more innocent Syrians? We should have a clear end state before you are allowed to kill even one Syrian in your spiteful attempt to regain credibility after years of being a lazy stupid bastard.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

This resolution will be violated before the ink has dried.

Dare tell the King what to do?

You will be dismissed.

Be lucky you are not banished.

Though better you be given the blade.

Long live the King!

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Late last night, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee settled on new language for an authorization to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons.

I’ve got some “new language” for you….

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO X 1,000

What a crock of crap to think that thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of our American soldiers have to come home in body bags just to save face for this President and and his giant ego!!

Anyone that votes for this authorization should have to meet every single coffin that comes home, and explain their votes to the weeping families. Of course the Ruling class won’t. They’ll be yucking it up on the golf course in the Hamptons planning their next global adventure.

Despicable.

PappyD61 on September 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Their words may say “no” but their “ayes” say yes.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

And Putin sends more ships/subs to the region…great. So when do Russian troops and air support arrive in Syria? Idiots….

thedevilinside on September 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Of course the Ruling class won’t. They’ll be yucking it up on the golf course in the Hamptons planning their next global adventure.

but………some day…….they will face the same kind of true justice that Ariel Castro is facing right now.

PappyD61 on September 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

pannw on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Corker was just re-elected to another six year Senate term. He’s protected. After his second term, he can retire with his full pension. Nice work screwing TN constituents if you can get it.

Focus on Alexander, who is up next year for re-election.

mountainaires on September 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

No, no, no, no, no.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

1st question on NSA

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

What qualifies as an “emergency”?

Anything and everything, including Dear Liar possibly missing his tee time.

rbj on September 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Voting for Obama’s war
*sigh*

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Yeah, I’m hoping at least that Rand Paul does force a filibuster even if he doesn’t put on red sneakers to do so.

Any operation in Syria is going to go badly and I want a full accounting of where the Senators stood on the issue. And I want Lindsey Graham (among others) primaried out of relevance.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

This is insanity, they might as well call in Assad to sit at the table as the plan is formulated.

“Ok Assad, here’s the deal, we’re going to let you know how things are going to go down so you can plan accordingly.”

I hate these people.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

jake-the-goose on September 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Or SHOES !!!
yeah, that’ll give a strong message.

pambi on September 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Copy/Paste
“Libya Plan”

hillsoftx on September 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

A stern but concise Tweet from the boy king should fix this whole mess.

patman77 on September 4, 2013 at 9:07 AM

So we are telling Assad he has 90 days.Vacation time for him.We fire missles that blow up buildings that have already been blown up.One thing Hillary did in her tenure was coin the phrase “Smart Power.”

docflash on September 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

HotAirian on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

I know the feeling.
Sigh.

pambi on September 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

60% of the Nation are against any military intervention in Syria. 60% of the American Public were against passing ObamaCare, yet Obama and the Democrats “unilaterally” passed this bill against the will of the people. Whether Congress approves of this strike, (or not), Obama will do what ever he wants, because he says he can. The anti-war liberal hypocrites are in full force, standing behind their President—principles be damned—and the “leadership” of this nation could potentially and perilously lead us into WW3…..for what? To teach Assad, Iran, and the rest of the middle eastern countries “a lesson”? Will Obama “go it alone” with no support from any other allies? Will Obama’s policies to arm the Syrian rebels, (80% al-Qaeda affiliated), continue unabated? As Hillary would say, “at this point, what difference does it make”?

Rovin on September 4, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Why put American boots on the ground, when the CIA is already arming and training Syrian rebels? This isn’t about chemical weapons. It’ about aiding the Syrian resistance, and removing Assad from power. Air power is the one advantage Assad has over the rebels. Taking out Assad’s ability to “deploy chemical weapons” is just code for eliminating his aircraft, and paving the way for regime change.

HarryBackside on September 4, 2013 at 9:10 AM

patman77 on September 4, 2013 at 9:07 AM

A simple twerk from Her Highness….

[Oh, God, I just threw up in my mouth....
]

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:10 AM

“To my knowledge, I have no knowledge.”

-Kerry

Yeah, that engenders confidence in this administration, having an SoS who says something that inane.

You could pluck random veggies from the local farmers market, dress them up in little suits, and get better leadership than the retards in this administration.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Obama, (in a press conference) just now!!! “First of all, I didn’t set a red line”, “the world set a red line”.

Color me flabber-ghasted!!!!

Rovin on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Lord Almighty. Get this idiot off the stage!

It’s like the Gong Show

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Didn’t John F’n Kerry say something about “There is no danger to Israel, unless we act.”

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Corker was just re-elected to another six year Senate term. He’s protected. After his second term, he can retire with his full pension. Nice work screwing TN constituents if you can get it.

Focus on Alexander, who is up next year for re-election.

mountainaires on September 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Yes, I know. That’s one reason this is so depressing. Lots of radio adds against Alexander (spit), the other piece of crap senator from the very Red state of Tennessee. I just don’t get it. Obviously people just don’t pay attention. HotAirian above mentions the start of Armageddon…maybe so. Isn’t there something about people being oblivious as in the day of Noah? It just drives me crazy. :(

pannw on September 4, 2013 at 9:14 AM

McCain & Graham say that Iran is who we need to worry about, not Syria.

So please explain to me if Syria is controlled by Iran and Russia and is having a civil war, why isn’t it in our national interest to let them continue with the civil war? We didn’t seem to care about the first 100,000 killed.

If it’s a puppet state, then it only hurts those who are pulling the strings.

Spend the money you were going to spend on bombing on huminitarian aid for the refugees instead.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Not just no but HELL NO!

annoyinglittletwerp on September 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM

It’s like the Gong Show

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM

BINGO !!!

pambi on September 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

He just ADMITTED that he doesn’t know WHO used the chems.

Take the keys away quickly.

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Didn’t John F’n Kerry say something about “There is no danger to Israel, unless we act.”

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:13 AM

That, and that they “scrubbed and re-scrubbed” the evidence until it fit the narrative.

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Obama, (in a press conference) just now!!! “First of all, I didn’t set a red line”, “the world set a red line”.

Color me flabber-ghasted!!!!

Rovin on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Please tell me he didn’t say that.

Well there is there talking point which came up a couple time yesterday from Pelosi and then Lurch at the hearings.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Here’s a simple question for you. Which of the founding fathers did not subscribe to the communitarian ethos Calhoun deploys to rationalize slavery? *sets sundial*

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM

None. They weren’t nascent Commies like John C. Calhoun, and full blown Commies like you. Don’t you think you need to provide some proof for such a ridiculous smear there Mr. Calhoun? You’re a history perfesser, right?

NotCoach on August 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Oh dear God….hold on, give me 10 minutes.

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

No, no, no, no, no.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

I already kind of figured that was your ultimate response to your “10 minute” research project.

Going on 360 hours…

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

What qualifies as an “emergency”?

Anything and everything, including Dear Liar possibly missing his tee time.

rbj on September 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Hey! There are really smart Ivy-league educated people in charge. Besides they have access to information you aren’t able to see. There is no need to bother yourself with the details. If the President and Secreatary of State stand in front of a podium and tell you about spontaneous protests over a YouTube video….. who the hell are you to question that in your partisan hatred? You wouldn’t be doing that if it were a white President!

Please feel free to print out and laminate the following for the next time you question the wisdom of this administration.

American credibility is at stake here and the United States has a moral obligation to act since our President said we would. The operations are going to be limited and proportional and will last hours not days! If we don’t act then our strong relations around the world will be damaged. Tehran and Pyonyang will be mocking us. Those who have qualms need to put aside their concerns and rally around this President because this is bigger than America and the right thing to do.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

But Congress had better be prepared to see its limiting language become moot very quickly, and be prepared for a much bigger war as a consequence of this policy.

No kidding.

‘(Un)Affordable (No)Care Act (When We Choose):

The Employer Mandate shall go into effect on 1 January 2014.

Obama:

In my capacity as Ruler of the United States, I have the authority to determine when ‘shall’ shall really mean ‘shall.’

BTW…

My administration also has the supreme authority to determine that it need not make a determination as to whether there has been a coup in Egypt, Federal law notwithstanding.

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

We don’t even know for sure that Assad was responsible. It could just as well have been the ‘rebels’ aka AQ. Isn’t it amazing how our dear leaders get their knickers in a wad over a nerve gas killing people when so many more have been killed by bombs, guns, IEDs, scimitars and rocks. These people have been killing each other since they started calling themselves people. We can’t stop them with a limited response or any other response. We spent 10 years in Iraq trying to do the same thing and it’s still going on in that country.
Just saying NO to the current group in DC isn’t enough. WE need to prove our point next Nov. Elections do have consequences.

Kissmygrits on September 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

No, no, no, no, no.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Sorry, brother, but you’ve already got blood on your hands for helping to elect this warmonger, and the blood is about to get deeper.

I suppose you could always be a human shield in Damascus. What? Wassat? You’ve got an appointment at the nail salon and just can’t make it? Huh, you and every other staunch anti-war citizen in the U.S. it seems.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Obama at presser in Stockholm ………

“I never drew a red line”

With a straight face. Also dumped all of the responsibility on Congress.

fogw on September 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

This is insanity.

Bombing a sovereign nation, especially one that has not threatened you, is an act of war. You cannot beforehand essentially say you will only go to war for 90 days. The bombed nation gets to vote. So do its allies.

Is the “Obama Doctrine” now that the US will go to war with any nation that uses chemical weapons, even if within its own borders?

This means Obama would have proposed bombing Iraq back in the late 80s. Would he really have voted to support such an action? Would he really have voted to help Iran prevail over Iraq, which is what that would have amounted to. In this case he is planning to help Islamists and al Qaeda affiliates prevail over Assad.

That’s insane.

Bombing a sovereign nation is ringing a bell that cannot be unrung. Once we began bombing Iraq in 1991 Saddam became an active enemy of the US for life. Because the job was left unfinished in 1991 it took another 12 years to resolve that conflict. Which started another internal conflict in Iraq that is ongoing, even thought Comrade O decided to quit a few years ago.

Bombing Syria and Assad will open another ME Pandora’s Box that cannot be closed. We will become directly involved there with no idea where it is going, when it will end, or how it will end.

Apparently the biggest critics of our involvement in Iraq, Comrade O and other prominent Dems, have learned nothing from it. The lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan, and also Libya, is that voluntary direct military intervention in the Muslim world is ultimately futile, fraught with peril, unpredictable, and expensive. So the “calculus” for taking military action should require substantial direct threats to vital American interests. And the “calculus” should only call for overwhelming force if force becomes necessary. The US has no vital interests in Syria. And even if we did, half-hearted ineffective bombing to “send a message” is not the way to go.

farsighted on September 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Here is a concise explanation of who the players currently are in the Syrian civil war:

On the government side:

Assad regime. It was founded by Hafez al-Assad. He died in 2000 and his son, Bashar al-Assad, has ruled the country since. The family-run government brooks no opposition.

Alawites. The Assad family is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of the Shiite branch of Islam. The Alawites are a minority in Syria, but dominate the government and the military and are fiercely loyal to the Assad family.

Hezbollah. The Shiite group is based in Lebanon and has been armed by Iran and hardened by years of battling Israeli troops. Hezbollah, which depends on the Assad regime and Iran for its weapons, has crossed into Syria and joined the battle against the rebels. The group’s added punch has helped Assad’s military blunt the rebels’ momentum and begin rolling back rebel advances. The U.S. considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.

Iran. The Shiite country has been Assad’s closest ally in the civil war, helping to train its troops and sending plane-loads of arms on a regular basis.

On the opposition side:

Free Syrian Army. The moderate force emerged from the street protests and initial Syrian army defections to take on Assad’s force, but is badly divided among different factions.

Sunnis. The Sunnis are a majority in Syria, but have long been marginalized by the regime. The ranks of the Free Syrian Army are overwhelmingly Sunni.

Jabhat al Nusra. A radical Islamic force that has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, has attracted thousands of militant Muslims from around the world, received money and weapons from supporters, and become the rebels’ most effective fighting force. It is imposing Sharia law in areas it occupies and has skirmished with the Free Syrian Army, at times.

Gulf States. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are largely Sunni monarchies, have been eager to counter the Shiite influence of Iran. They have poured weapons and money to rebel fighters, including militant Islamists over the objections of the U.S.

Turkey and Jordan. Syria’s neighbors have become refuges for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and a conduit for arms intended for rebels.

Caught in the middle:

Lebanon. Syria’s smaller neighbor has a history of civil war and violent outbursts among its Shiite, Sunni and Christian populations. There have been bombings of Shiite neighborhoods in retaliation for Hezbollah aiding Assad and officials fear the potential of Syria’s civil strife spilling into Lebanon.

Stoic Patriot on September 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Is there a 2,000 page ‘compehensive” version?

Deafdog on September 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Obama is taking gas from reporters in Sweden. Hahaha, no need to go to Syria for gas.

petefrt on September 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

If that’s how you want to look at it, you’ve got far more blood on your hands for electing Bush twice. Since you’re interested in little more than dumb partisan “your guy is just as bad as my guy” bullsh!t just enjoy the vast numbers of innocent troops and American military who were maimed and/or killed fighting a set of pointless wars during the Bush Administration. A legacy to be proud of I guess.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Swedish reporter……how about that Nobel peace prize and you starting a war in Syria
Ouch

Something you won’t hear from wh press corps

Has not happy……heh

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

OMG… He’d rather be thinking of Pre-K education.

REALLY???????????

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Of course he’s going to blame the gop

Lsm to call this the gop war on Syria in 5…..4…..3

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Obama at presser in Stockholm ………

“I never drew a red line”

With a straight face. Also dumped all of the responsibility on Congress.

fogw on September 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Hitler, 1945: “I never said we should invade Russia.”

What a self-serving turd of a human.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Oh dear God….hold on, give me 10 minutes.

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

No, no, no, no, no.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

I already kind of figured that was your ultimate response to your “10 minute” research project.

Going on 360 hours…

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

To be even more specific:

* 13 days, 23 hours, and 18 minutes

* 335 hours (rounded down)

* 20,118 minutes

* 1,207,080 seconds

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Hitler, 1945: “I never said we should invade Russia.”

What a self-serving turd of a human.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

He’s an insult to turds everywhere.

/Watch out, or you might step in a big pile of Obama, and that’ll stick to your shoes.

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Amazing what kind of real questions you get from non U.S. reporters.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Lsm to call this the gop war on Syria in 5…..4…..3

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Democrats, War & Revisionist History

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

the resolution is un-constitutional. the congress can declare war, it cant dictate how the JEF is to fight said war. playing politics instead of doing what’s right, so basically business as usual.

chasdal on September 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

To be even more specific:

* 13 days, 23 hours, and 18 minutes

* 335 hours (rounded down)

* 20,118 minutes

* 1,207,080 seconds

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Oops, I added a day. My bad brainfree.

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Nothing says “I have no cufking clue about how to pursue armed conflict” than setting the parameters as a TIME FRAME.

This will stand as one of the most singularly idiotic resolutions in the history of everything.

TexasDan on September 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

It seems the thin-skinned rat and his evil minions have learned nothing. Doesn’t this re-cap of the red line speech seem an awful lot like John Kerry’s testimony yesterday?

Aug 21, 2012

President Obama made a surprise appearance during Jay Carney’s White House briefing. Speaking to a packed press room, he raised a smile as he traded banter with them before launching into the serious issue of Syria and chemical weapons.

He confirmed that the US has said Assad needs to step down.

Obama then tackled the issue of humanitarian aid to Syrians, and those who are fleeing the country to escape the Assad regime ,severely straining the resources of nearby host countries.

And the President ended the briefing on a serious note, by saying that should the US and United Nations be aware of any chemical weapons then they would react accordingly to the threat.

On the same day that Obama made this statement in the US, the Russian Minister and Syrian ally, SERGEI LAVROV speaking at a news conference in Helsinki, said Moscow would not approve any political transition that was forced on Syria. Stating that only the United Nations Security Council alone, can authorise the use of force against Syria, and not just the US.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

How stupid. What exactly are we trying to do there? If chemical weapons was the concern, you’d go in and remove them with your hands. This resolution can only have one purpose which is to take away the Syrian’s government’s ability to defend against our al qaeda allies.

Buddahpundit on September 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders have reached an agreement on the language for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria for up to 90 days — but with no “boots on the ground.” …

Translated: We only approve of a limited 60-90 day war and you can only use missiles and aircraft.

The bar on ground troops isn’t quite as explicit as some would like, though:

Effective targeting of air strikes is very difficult without some boots on the ground, of the CIA and Special Ops kind.

And then what happens if they are discovered and Assad decides to eliminate them? And what happens if an aircraft is shot down or malfunctions over Syria and the pilot(s) must bail?

That will also make it easier for Congress to kick the whole mess back to Obama rather than spend a lot of time owning the policy, assuming of course it passes at all — which is not going to be easy.

At which point (that is, if it passes) Comrade O will ignore all limits and claim he has approval to do whatever he thinks is necessary. We know how our wanna-be-Monarch operates. Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile.

farsighted on September 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM

So he’s arguing FOR regime change but he doesn’t want to DO regime change.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Obama in Stockholm…”when I see 400 children dead..1400 others killed…senselessly…we must do something.”

See?

It IS for the children.

[Nothing said about the thousands and thousands killed in the years since Obama chose to ignore the initial pleadings of the people of Syria...before the jihadis and radicals came in and took over the opposition.]

“Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn, tell us the lesson we should learn.”

So, the lesson to be learned here boys and girls…if you rally want to slaughter your own, or somebody else…do it…the old fashioned way…machetes, clubs, hot lava…bullets, garrottes, mow them down with fleets of brand new Porches…mortar round them to death. Whatever your heart desires. But do not use Chemicals. OK? Barry takes a dim view of that sort of thing.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Oops, I added a day. My bad brainfree.

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Day counter is a handy, little tool.

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

They are not going to destroy the weapons. They can’t. They are meaning going to attack Assad’s troops and thereby help the Syrian rebels who are Al Queda and who vow to kill us all. Smart.

Stop aiding islamists!

Blake on September 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

If that’s how you want to look at it, you’ve got far more blood on your hands for electing Bush twice. Since you’re interested in little more than dumb partisan “your guy is just as bad as my guy” bullsh!t just enjoy the vast numbers of innocent troops and American military who were maimed and/or killed fighting a set of pointless wars during the Bush Administration. A legacy to be proud of I guess.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Eh, your guy has overseen more troop deaths in Afghanistan in 4 years than Dubya did in 8.

The difference is that we weren’t running around claiming to be the smartest people in the room and calling everyone who didn’t buy into Dog Eater’s schtick a stone-cold racist. We also weren’t marching through the streets demanding the sitting POTUS be tried for war crimes only to disappear when the other guy started his own wars.

Face it, all the leftist bleating and heartache for the poor little people of the mideast was just a facade for being anti-GOP, now that a demorat is getting us involved in truly illegal wars there is nothing but tumbleweeds on the streets and quiet acceptance by your reps in Congress.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

“I’ve been thinking about taking this to Congress for a long time.”

Liar

fogw on September 4, 2013 at 9:32 AM

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Not really trying anymore, are you?

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

OMG… He’d rather be thinking of Pre-K education.

REALLY???????????

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM

He likes “Counting with Elmo,” the mid-morning snack, and nap time.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

So he’s arguing FOR regime change but he doesn’t want to DO regime change.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Yeah, because we know how well it all turned out when he demanded Regime Change in Egypt and Libya.

America needs a Regime Change! Stat.

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Obama: We (USA) have to break the habit of ignoring Congress when we go to war.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

He likes “Counting with Elmo,” the mid-morning snack, and nap time.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Captain Underoo Pissy Pants

/I need a drink.

Key West Reader on September 4, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Heh, Sweden PM, getting tired of being ignored say’s he want to weigh in on the Syria issue.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Yepper rwm

cmsinaz on September 4, 2013 at 9:37 AM

So, the lesson to be learned here boys and girls…if you rally want to slaughter your own, or somebody else…do it…the old fashioned way…machetes, clubs, hot lava…bullets, garrottes, mow them down with fleets of brand new Porches…mortar round them to death. Whatever your heart desires. But do not use Chemicals. OK? Barry takes a dim view of that sort of thing.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Don’t forget Napalm, white phosphorous, and other agents. Funny how Genghis Kerry neglected to mention the use of those chemicals when he cited Hitler (questionable on the battlefield) and Assad as the only players since WWI to use chemical weapons, especially on civilians.

Interesting little piece of rather unknown history:

War On The ‘Red Empire’: How America Planned For An Attack On BRITAIN In 1930 With Bombing Raids And Chemical Weapons

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Thre progressives have all fallen in line (Dem and Republican). This is going to be bad……very bad. My thoughts and prayers for those in Israel.

dddave on September 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Press conference over.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

I’m starting to hear the GOP mumbling about supporting the President and showing a united front to the middle east- where the flock was the left when it came to supporting W in the middle east? I’m so sick of the left changing the rules to support the idiot they elected. Not to mention, the curiously silent media. Talk about an emperor having no clothes.

BettyRuth on September 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Not really trying anymore, are you?

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Libfree is as lazy and stupid as the thin-skinned rat.

Iraq and Afghanistan were coalition efforts. There were 17 UN resolutions concerning Iraq alone. And Libfree and those of his ilk screamed bloody murder. Dems did happy dances on the floor of the House when a milestone death toll was reached. Durbin and Murtha called our troops terrorists for following their orders in both combat zones.

So, now the black guy is in charge and the narrative is that he’s super smart and a different kind of leader. Libfree and all the other lemmings are lined up ready for the United States to take unilateral action against Syria for no other reason than the President is a Democrat. And nothing about reality factors into their position.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM

The sham that is the GOPe will reveal itself now, rather than waiting until the Amnesty vote as originally expected. Boehner and his toady Cantor don’t have to “fall into line”, because they were never really OUT of line.

This country desperately needs a second party, because it’s pretty damn clear that at this point we only have one.

bofh on September 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

I get the impression poor old Reinfeldt just wanted Obama to shut up.

That droning, laconic, toneless senseless Obama monologue…

Sverige, jag måste be om ursäkt för min ordförande.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM

just enjoy the vast numbers of innocent troops and American military who were maimed and/or killed fighting a set of pointless wars during the Bush Administration. A legacy to be proud of I guess.

libfreeordie on September 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Why don’t you ask some of the “Republicans” who voted to authorize those “pointless” wars — people like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden — if they’re proud of their legacy? They must be, since they’re the very same people telling us now that we have a moral duty to take military action against dictators who gas their own people. We all know Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, so clearly attacking him was the right thing to do. It can’t be that there is a different moral standard for these military actions depending on whether a Republican or a Democrat is sitting in the White House, can it? Oh wait, I seem to recall that there was one Democrat who opposed the attack on Iraq — despite Hussein’s use of gas on the Kurds. Some black guy from Chicago . . . what was his name again?

AZCoyote on September 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Obama: We (USA) have to break the habit of ignoring Congress when we go to war.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Yeah, that FDR, just unilaterally launched operations against Japan in 1941.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Wait, y’all!

In our courting days, the future mrs. socalcon suggested a ‘first date’ of drinks with her friends– if all went well, follow-up date determined to be dinner and a movie ( ironic foreshadowing ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’)… Look at the mess that got me into…

Jus’ sayin’

socalcon on September 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

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