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George

Obama Seeks Congressional Approval

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Yesterday, President Obama stated from the White House lawn that his plan for a Syrian strike hasn't wavered, however he wants Congressional approval before he takes such action.

Congress is on break until September 9th. This leaves the door for Congress to reject President's request – and if that were to take place it would be an embarrassment to the administration. So the President must expend quite a bit of political capital in order for a resolution to pass both houses of Congress. Complicating matters for the administration is the ongoing economic predicament that faces the nation. By Mid-October at the latest, the debt limit must be reset otherwise the U.S. risks going into default.

In 2011, when Congress didn't pass the debt ceiling immediately, the markets went haywire with the Dow Jones plummeting 5.6% the first day of the debacle and the U.S. Credit rating was downgraded from AAA to AA+.

We'll see what kind of political bribery takes place on the hill, in order for President Obama to get the votes he needs to avoid the dilemma he may face if Congress doesn't approve such an action on Syria.

Let's suppose the President is not granted authority by Congress, and decides to act unilaterally against Syria using the authority given in the War Powers Act of 1973. In order to do so, he would have to connect the potential use of chemical weapons as a threat to the United States or its allies.

Let's do a brief history lesson of when the red line that Obama placed on the Syrian government on the use of chemical weapons. Last year, in August 2012, Obama said in a press conference, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized, that would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

So the red line was placed – not only to the Assad regime – but notice he also said – “to other players on the ground!” However, is this the case?

On May 5th, U.N. human rights investigators gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin. (Source:Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505 )

So the rebels used Sarin gas, and did they cross Obama's red line? Apparently not! On June 13th, a month after the UN report of rebel use of chemical weapons, the Obama administration began supplying the rebels with weapons.
(Source: NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-weapons.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )

The situation in Syria has turned into a quagmire that there is no winners – and the losers are the Syrian people!

One one hand you have a dictator, in Assad, who attempted to suppress a revolution in 2011 during the Arab Spring, taking a page of out of his father's playbook, where the Syrian government killed hundreds of its own people while injuring thousands more.

In 1982, Hafez al-Assad, the father of the current Syrian president, seiged the town of Hama to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood who had led an uprising against the Assad government. Estimates vary from 10,000 to 40,000 people were massacred by Hafez al-Assad.

On the other hand, the movement which began with peaceful protests seeking reforms has been infiltrated by terrorist operatives closely aligned with Al Qaeda, mainly the jihahist groups of Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). This past May, Al-Nusra operatives were arrested with 2 kg of sarin gas in Turkey – so these organizations already have the capability of acquiring WMDs!

The Syrian opposition has been comprised by terrorists – and by supporting the opposition you're inadvertently supporting terrorist organizations whose very goal is the establishment of a Islamic Caliphate. The results are already being seen as these terrorists have been killing and executing Christians and imposing a strict version of Islamic law in every village they control in Syria.

So what's my point? If the U.S. President is forced to use the War Powers Act to authorize action against Syria – shouldn't it also be used against the rebel terrorist factions as well? If we're being realistic and we're attempting to prevent the use of chemical weapons, then you need to also attack Al-Nusra and ISIL as well! We are still fighting the war against terrorism right?

Meanwhile, last week it was reported that warplanes were building up on Cyprus UK bases located less than 100 miles from the Syrian coast. However, this weekend, Russia neutralized any attacks from Cyprus.

While the West was landing planes, Russia was restructuring a loan (Source: Cyrpus Mail: http://cyprus-mail.com/2013/08/30/final-decision-reached-on-restructuring-of-russian-loan/ ) for the crippled Cyprus government. The following morning, Cyprus announced 'Cyprus will not be used as a launching pad for a Syria Attack', apparently a condition for the "restructured loan!" (Source: Cyprus Mail: http://cyprus-mail.com/2013/09/01/we-will-not-be-used-as-a-launching-pad-for-syria-attack/ ) Once again, the West moves a piece on the board, and once again Putin neutralized the threat to Russian interests!

This will be an interesting week to watch the news! Obama and Putin are scheduled to meet along with the other G-20 leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia for an economic summit. I suspect that we'll see some political fireworks over the next few days.

Until next time,

George

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