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Aug 31, 2013

Analysis – Obama and Syria: The education of a reluctant war president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – He was the peace candidate who became a war president, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has regularly ordered executions by drone.

Just three months ago, President Barack Obama called for an end to America’s “perpetual war-time footing.” Now he has ordered the U.S. military into position for an aerial strike in Syria – with neither hopes it will end that country’s cataclysmic civil war, nor the backing of the broad global coalition he wanted.

Aug 29, 2013

Obama makes case for punishing Syria, delay looks likely

WASHINGTON/AMMAN (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told Americans a military strike against Syria is in their interest, although there were signs on Thursday that any action will be delayed at least several days while the case is laid out to U.S. and British lawmakers.

Senior Obama administration officials are expected to brief congressional leaders on Thursday, with lawmakers complaining they have not been properly consulted about plans to respond to what Washington says was the gassing of civilians.

Aug 29, 2013

Obama makes case for punishing Syria, but possible delays loom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama made the case on Wednesday for a limited military strike against Syria in response to last week’s chemical weapons attack even as he faced new obstacles with British allies and U.S. lawmakers that could delay any imminent action.

Casting the need for intervention in Syria’s civil war on the basis of U.S. national security interests instead of humanitarian grounds, Obama presented his clearest justification to war-weary Americans for confronting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government with “international consequences.”

Aug 29, 2013

Obama makes case for punishing Syria over gas attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday that the Syrian government would face “international consequences” for last week’s deadly chemical attack, but made clear any military response would be limited to avoid dragging the United States into another war in the Middle East.

Casting the need for action based on U.S. national security interests instead of humanitarian grounds, Obama made his case to a war-weary American public for what is looking like an all-but-certain use of force in Syria, where he has long been reluctant to intervene.

Aug 28, 2013

U.S., allies prepare for probable military strike on Syria

AMMAN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and its allies geared up on Tuesday for a probable military strike against Syria that could come within days and would be the most aggressive action by Western powers in the Middle Eastern nation’s two-and-a-half-year civil war.

Western envoys have told the Syrian opposition to expect a military response soon against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as punishment for a chemical weapons attack last week, according to sources who attended a meeting with the rebel Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul.

Aug 27, 2013

U.S. points finger at Assad over Syria gas attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry laid the groundwork on Monday for possible military action against the Syrian government over a chemical weapons attack, implicating President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in a “moral obscenity.”

In the most forceful U.S. reaction yet to last week’s gas attack outside Damascus, Kerry said President Barack Obama “believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Aug 26, 2013

U.S. seeks accountability for Syria gas attack, edges closer to military response

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry laid the groundwork on Monday for possible military action against the Syrian government over a suspected chemical weapons attack, implicating President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in a “moral obscenity.”

In the most forceful U.S. reaction yet to last week’s suspected gas attack outside Damascus, Kerry said President Barack Obama “believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Aug 24, 2013

U.S. repositions naval forces, no decision on Syria strike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday was repositioning naval forces in the Mediterranean to give President Barack Obama the option for an armed strike on Syria, although officials cautioned that Obama had made no decision on military action.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. Navy would expand its presence in the Mediterranean to four destroyers from three.

Aug 24, 2013

Initial Western intelligence finds Syrian forces used chemical weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have made a preliminary assessment that chemical weapons were used by Syrian forces in an attack near Damascus this week, likely with high-level approval from the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to American and European security sources.

The early intelligence finding could increase pressure for action by President Barack Obama, who made clear that he planned to tread cautiously even as his aides sought to narrow their differences in debate over possible military responses to the Syrian government.

Aug 23, 2013

Obama stresses cautious response on Syria as aides weigh options

/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Friday that the United States must tread cautiously in response to an apparent poison gas attack in Syria even as his aides debated over the options for possible military action against the Syrian government.

In his first public comments since Wednesday’s attack in the Damascus suburbs, Obama called the incident “very troublesome” and a “big event of grave concern” but made clear he was in no rush to get war-weary Americans entangled in another Middle East conflict.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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