WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his aides pressed U.S. lawmakers on Monday to approve military force against Syria but many members of Congress were worried that an attack would only drag America into another Middle Eastern conflict with no end in sight.
Obama’s abrupt decision to halt plans for a strike against the government of President Bashar al-Assad and instead wait for congressional approval has generated a raging debate just as the president prepares to go to Sweden and Russia this week.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers began work on Monday on their version of an authorization of the use of military force in Syria, worrying that President Barack Obama’s draft could open the door to possible use of ground troops or eventual attacks on other countries.
Obama’s proposal, released on Saturday by the White House, authorizes the president to use the armed forces “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Susan Rice is facing her first key test as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser as she helps lead a White House effort to convince a skeptical Congress that the United States must respond to Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons.
Rice has made an abrupt transition from a high-profile and sometimes combative U.S. ambassador, who scolded the U.N. Security Council for failing to agree on Syria sanctions, to a behind-the-scenes power player at the White House.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military response to alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria appeared more likely on Sunday after Washington dismissed the Syrian government’s offer to allow U.N. inspection of the sites as “too late to be credible.”
A senior official of the U.S. administration said there was little doubt the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians in suburbs of Damascus last week and that President Barack Obama was weighing how to respond.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has several diplomatic and military choices before him as he considers whether to take action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over charges it carried out a massive deadly chemical weapons attack in the civil war there.
Here are some of Obama’s options, and the downside of taking them:
* PUSH FOR U.N. INSPECTORS TO GET ACCESS TO THE SITE OF THE ALLEGED CHEMICAL ATTACKS.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some U.S. lawmakers are calling for the Obama administration to shut off aid to Egypt in the aftermath of the army’s lethal crackdown on protesters. But untangling the aid relationship with Cairo would not be simple and could be costly for the United States as well as Egypt.
A special financing arrangement Cairo uses could leave U.S. taxpayers holding the bill for billions of dollars in equipment Egypt already has ordered on credit, and companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics that build military hardware for Egypt would be affected by aid restrictions.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Russian officials agreed on Friday on the need to convene a long-delayed Syrian peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible, but they offered no concrete plan to bring the warring government and rebels to the table.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after five hours of political and security meetings in Washington that officials from the two countries will meet again by the end of the month to prepare for the Syria talks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Russian officials agreed on Friday on the need to convene a Syrian peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible and will meet again by the end of the month to prepare for the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Lavrov said the mood of talks in Washington between the top U.S. and Russian diplomatic and defense officials was very positive. The meeting opened after days of recriminations over Moscow’s decision to grant asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Turmoil in Yemen and the warnings of attacks that prompted the United States to shut diplomatic missions across the Middle East could hinder President Barack Obama’s plans to close Guantanamo Bay prison.
Obama’s plan to restart the repatriation of Yemeni inmates, a large group at the prison, is coming under increasing scrutiny because of the recent focus on the country as a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Intercepted communication between al Qaeda leaders was one component of a broader pool of intelligence that prompted a threat alert closing numerous U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Africa, U.S. sources said on Monday.
The New York Times reported that the closure of the embassies was the result of intercepted electronic communications between Ayman al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as head of al Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of Yemen-based affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).