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Sep 10, 2013

Obama seeks to keep pressure on Syria amid diplomacy push

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will tell the American people and Congress on Tuesday evening that the United States must not let up pressure on Syria even as Washington explores a diplomatic alternative to military strikes.

While Obama plans to claim credit for a potential diplomatic breakthrough on Syria’s chemical weapons, he still faces potential political damage from his failure so far to sell the public and Congress on the need for military intervention.

Sep 10, 2013

U.S. Senate may not vote on Syria this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate may not vote this week on the authorization for the use of military force in Syria, congressional aides said on Tuesday after Syria’s recent acceptance of a Russian proposal to give up its chemical weapons.

Congressional leaders also want to wait to assess the American public’s response to President Barack Obama’s address on Syria on Tuesday night, several aides said.

Sep 7, 2013

Pro-Israel U.S. lobbying group sets major push for Syria action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes.

“We plan a major lobbying effort with about 250 activists in Washington to meet with their senators and representatives,” an AIPAC source said on Saturday.

Sep 5, 2013

Senate panel approves resolution on Syria military strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday authorizing limited U.S. military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a contentious debate in the full Senate next week on the use of force.

The committee voted 10-7 in favor of a compromise resolution that sets a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and bars the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.

Sep 4, 2013

U.S. resolution on Syria strike passes first hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON/AMMAN (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to win legislative backing for military strikes against Syria passed its first hurdle on Wednesday when a Senate committee voted in favor, but the narrow margin of victory showed the depth of U.S. caution.

In a possible sign of internal unrest in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling Alawite sect in the shadow of a likely U.S. intervention, Syrian opposition figures said General Ali Habib, a former defense minister, had defected. Syria denied the report.

Sep 4, 2013

Senate panel struggles for consensus on Syria military strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee struggled on Wednesday to reach agreement on a resolution authorizing military strikes in Syria, but scheduled a vote for later in the day as Obama administration officials pressed for action in Congress.

Committee Chairman Robert Menendez convened the panel to consider a compromise resolution on military intervention that is more limited than President Barack Obama’s original proposal.

Sep 4, 2013

Senate panel reaches deal on military authorization for Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they reached an agreement on Tuesday on a draft authorization for the use of military force in Syria that was much narrower than the request made by President Barack Obama, paving the way for a vote by the committee on Wednesday.

Among other provisions, the draft, which was obtained by Reuters, sets a 60-day limit on U.S. military action in Syria, with a possibility of a single 30-day extension subject to conditions.

Sep 3, 2013

Pro-Israel groups publicly back U.S. action in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three influential pro-Israel groups urged U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday to authorize President Barack Obama to launch an attack on Syria, signaling a stepped-up lobbying effort for American military action.

The statements by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) represented the groups’ most public show of support for U.S. military action since the August 21 attack near Damascus in which Syria’s government is accused of using chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people.

Sep 3, 2013

Kerry opens door to ‘boots on ground’ in Syria, then slams it shut

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry briefly opened the door on Tuesday to authorizing U.S. ground troops in Syria, but quickly slammed it shut and told Congress that any resolution approving military force would prohibit “boots on the ground.”

The exchange during the first public hearing in Congress on possible military action in Syria highlighted the worries of many lawmakers about authorizing U.S. military strikes to punish the Syrian government for using chemical weapons on civilians.

Sep 3, 2013

Influential U.S. pro-Israel lobby group backs action in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The influential pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC urged U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday to approve a resolution allowing the Obama administration to retaliate for chemical weapons use in Syria.

“AIPAC urges Congress to grant the president the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons,” AIPAC said in a letter to members of Congress obtained by Reuters.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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