A US Strike on Syria is becoming increasingly unlikely in the face of growing opposition to Obama’s resolution requesting congressional authorisation. An initial vote on the resolution is due to be held in the US Senate on Wednesday but given recent statements and opposition from senators the vote may be delayed to Thursday or even Friday. If the vote does proceed it will then be followed by another round of voting, possibly over the weekend or early next week.
If Senate votes no (i.e. does not receive at least 60% support), the House of Representatives is unlikely to vote for the resolution either. Both houses of Congress are required to vote in favour of the resolution for it to pass. This back and forth of course does not change the fact that the US president can authorize strikes without congressional approval.
However, doing so now, after he has referred the resolution to the bicameral house, would be political suicide and serve to further drive a wedge, which is already a gulf, between Congress and the Presidency.
It could, therefore, be some time before the US initiates strikes against Syria. At the minimum (if Obama stays the course with the Congress vote) strikes could occur early next week; however, in reality we have a week to two week period where action is unlikely.
While this back and forth in the quagmire of US politics continues, politicking continues on the international stage. Russia has presented a new solution to the crisis by suggesting that international monitors be deployed to Syria to monitor the chemical weapons stockpiles. The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem quickly welcomed the Russian proposal once it has been made public and even Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, got into the act and has expressed his support for this middle path measure.
On the US side, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, in typical cowboy fashion, has urged the Syrians to ‘hand them over’ by the end of the week or face action. Kerry’s bluster aside, the Russian proposal should be given serious consideration and it is one that the US is likely to support should it fail to pass a resolution in Congress authorizing strikes.
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