President Obama appeals to Congress to delay vote on military action in Syria, adopted children who survived the online child exchange speak out, and a car bomb explodes in Benghazi. On this Wednesday, we mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the U.S. This is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the nation about the situation in Syria from the East Room at the White House in Washington, September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/POOL
Buying time. President Barack Obama vowed to explore diplomatic options in Syria in a televised address on Tuesday night, while still pushing for support for a possible military strike. Now considering a Russian plan for oversight of Syria’s chemical weapons, Obama asked leaders in Congress to put off a vote on whether to authorize use of military force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:
[Obama] said U.S. Navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean and other forces in the region are in place and ready to respond should diplomacy fail. The Russian initiative gave Obama some breathing space since it has been far from certain whether he would win a vote in Congress on attacking Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack last month that Washington has blamed on Assad’s forces. In a speech of only 16 minutes, Obama gave perhaps the most coherent expression of his Syria policy to date following weeks of muddled messages by his administration as opposition to a U.S. military strike mounted. “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons,” said Obama. “As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.”
France drafted an initial U.N. Security Council resolution that would give Syria 15 days to declare its chemical weapons program and make all related sites accessible to U.N. inspectors, or face punishment. Russia’s proposal shifted U.S. foreign policy away from considering imminent military intervention and made unlikely partners of Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tension between the two leaders has been high this year, but now Obama needs his Russian counterpart to wield influence in Syria. On Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said that Syria is ready to “provid[e] all information about these [chemical] weapons,” in the closest intimation from a high-level official that Syria has chemical weapon stores. The U.N. said on Wednesday that war crimes have been perpetrated by both sides in battles over territory.