Obama backs strike on Syria, wants Cong approval
Washington: In a surprise move, US President Barack Obama has sought congressional approval for limited military intervention in Syria to win more support for his plan to punish the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
"After careful deliberation, I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian targets. I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons," Obama said in an address to the nation from the Rose Garden of the White House.
"This attack is an attack on human dignity and it risks making a mockery of the global prohibition of the ban on chemical weapons. In a world with many dangers, this attack must be confronted. The US should take military action," he asserted.
"I will seek authorisation for the use of force by the representatives of the US people, the members of the US Congress," he said urging lawmakers to put aside their differences to vote for military action against Syrian regime.
"Some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment. Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are united as one nation," he said.
After Obama sought Congressional approval for the strike, the White House sent a draft resolution to the Congress to empower the US President to authorise the use of American military force in Syria.
The draft resolution does not set any deadline for US action, but it authorises Obama to take all necessary action against the Assad regime for the alleged chemical weapons attack on August 21.
However, Obama has decided to bypass the UN Security Council, saying the 15-member body is unwilling to hold the Assad regime accountable.
"I'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralysed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable," Obama said.
Arguing in favour of his move to go ahead with a strike on Syria, Obama, without naming anyone, put the blame on those countries who are not willing to support his agenda in the war-torn country.
"I don't expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made. Privately we've heard many expressions of support from our friends. But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action," Obama said.