Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Senators Give Obama Cautious Support;Critical Hearing Next
Two prominent Republican senators feel the president is moving in the right direction on Syria.We still have significant concerns,but we believe there is in formulation a strategy to upgrade the opposition,said Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,after he and Senator Lindsey Graham,R-South Carolina,met with President Obama on the Syria crisis in the White House Monday.Senator Graham described it as "a solid plan."If the president loses the vote in Congress,it would be catastrophic,McCain said,damaging the credibility of the United States of America and the President of the United States.The two national security experts agreed to help push the president's military action plan on Capitol Hill.*General Salim Idris,commander of the Free Syrian Army,the leading rebel group,said they supported President Obama's plan to get congressional approval for a limited military strike against the Assad regime.We understand it and are sure it will make the decision stronger and encourage other countries to participate.The regime in Damascus can use chemical weapons again.They have committed countless crimes against humanity.They will use them again if there are no strikes,General Idris warned.*The fighters in the FSA are civilians who left their jobs and took up arms.Other fighters left the Syrian army.Many of the Islamic groups are moderate.A few are al-Qaida,General Idris admitted,but promised to ensure that any military aid would go to the right hands.For more than two and a half years,our people are suffering from the crimes of the regime,the rebel commander said.*I would be more concerned about the clarity of the mission and what it is we're trying to achieve,said General George Joulwan,former Supreme Allied Commander Europe.The challenge is not just military,but political and economic.We need a comprehensive strategy.*The US is the leader of NATO.We have to make it united.That would be a very clear signal to Syria.Leadership is what is required here,the retired NATO commander observed.*A public hearing on the president's plan will be held Tuesday afternoon.Appearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will be Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel,as well as General Martin Dempsey,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.*Classified briefings on Syria for Members of Congress will continue throughout the week.Congress will go back into session next Monday,at which time the debate and vote on the president's plan will occur.*On the previous occasions in history,Congress has never refused to give a president their support for military action.