Friday, September 13, 2013



SYRIA and surrounding regions

*  Special thanks to "Google Images"  "", "",
"BBC News",  "The Washington Post" , "Reuters" and  "The New York Daily News".


by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

Syrian soldiers who defected to join the Free Syrian Army are seen among demonstrators during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Idlib in this handout picture received January 31, 2012.  (Photo Reuters/Handout)

Over the past few weeks the tone of US involvement in Syria has become stronger and the President has now issued statements that would commit this country to yet another war in the Middle East.  Here at “The Noodleman Group”, we were avoiding the topic of Syria all together!  Not our country, not our problem and not our head ache.  This is an issue for the United Nations and it is for the UN to act upon. 

In the past the UN has been a force in the establishment of the Israeli State and in the 1950’s the UN was involved with peace keeping forces in the Middle East and also in Korea.  These days the UN has become decidedly less active in regional disputes and civil wars.  Sometimes the world’s major diplomatic medium seems to even have problems with drafting resolutions to define and condemn the atrocities of our modern world.

To begin our article this week entitled “Syria; The End of Nowhere” we need to learn a little more about this ancient nation nestled in the so called cradle of western civilization.  As always we are so grateful to be able to turn to our good friends at “” for the inside scoop on Syria.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the modern state of Syria. For other uses, see Syria (disambiguation).
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Syria (/ˈsɪriə/ SIRR-ee-ə; Arabic: سوريا / ALA-LC: Sūriyā, or سورية / Sūrīyah; Syriac: Kurdish: سوریه, Sûrî), officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Arab Alawites, Arab Sunnis, Arab Christians, Armenians, Assyrians, Druze, Kurds and Turks. Arab Sunnis make up the majority of the population.
In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham) while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the third millennium BC. In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate, and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.

The modern Syrian state was established after the first World War as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1971. Between 1958 and 1961, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt, which was terminated by a military coup. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.

Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it is currently suspended from the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.

Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in civil war in the wake of uprisings (considered an extension of the Arab Spring, the mass movement of revolutions and protests in the Arab world) against Assad and the neo-Ba'athist government. An alternative government was formed by the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, in March 2012. Representatives of this government were subsequently invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League.  The opposition coalition has been recognised as the "sole representative of the Syrian people" by several nations including the United States, the United Kingdom and France.


Main article: Name of Syria
The name Syria is derived from the ancient Greek name for Syrians: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, which the Greeks applied without distinction to the Assyrians. A number of modern scholars argued that the Greek word related to the cognate σσυρία, Assyria, ultimately derived from the Akkadian Aššur. Others believed that it was derived from Siryon, the name that the Sidonians gave to Mount Hermon.However, the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in 2000 seems to support the theory that the term Syria derives from Assyria.

The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene, Sophene, and Adiabene.

By Pliny's time, however, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire (but politically independent from each other): Judaea, later renamed Palaestina in AD 135 (the region corresponding to modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan) in the extreme southwest, Phoenicia corresponding to Lebanon, with Damascena to the inland side of Phoenicia, Coele-Syria (or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Iraq.


It seems the position best for the United States is as a very influential mediator in the whole Syrian affair.  By a “Influential Mediator” we mean a mediator who could find a way to make both sides in Syria listen and put an end to their war.  The US needs another Secretary of State like Dr. Henry Kissinger who can get things done in that part of the world. 

The direction of events in Syria has taken a very bad turn for the Obama administration and demonstrated the inability of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State to carry out the US mission.  With the latest news coming out of the White House, it would appear that the Administration is really putting the horse before the cart! 

As a writer who has viewed the performances of US Secretaries of State under the Presidential administrations of Presidents Carter, Clinton and now Obama, we see a very weak and even tolerant attitude towards civil unrest in this region of the world with little to no reaction for the upheavals in this fragile part of the Middle East. The coexistence for the State of Israel always seems to be at stake.  Under these Presidents, the peace and stability of Middle Eastern nations has been sacrificed for chaos and the establishment of a zealot Islamic State which spawns world wide terrorism and and hatred for everything which is not Islamic.  

The Islamic forces cry out against their nations leadership with accusations of "Dictators" and "Ruthless" have been courted and encouraged by these Presidents.  Since the Shaw of Iran was deposed in 1979 during the Carter administration, Islamic revolutionaries have sought to establish an "Islamic State" across the Middle East with zero tolerance for other religions or points of view.  We have to wonder who the real dictators are!  

WASHINGTON — Syrian President Bashar Assad
has warned there will be “repercussions” against any
U. S. military strike launched in response to a
chemical weapons attack in his country.

In the case of Syria there seems to be a complete failure of attention for the civil war and the government which has resorted to the use of chemical weapons.  A failure of the United Nations and a failure of the United States to dissuade this holocaust of humanity.  Well; so much for President Obama's “Nobel Peace Prize award”!  We didn’t think he deserved it in the first place and now we can see the reasons why!  I’ll take the Bush-Chaney-Dr. Rice approach any day over the Obama program.  They were serious about removing any and all WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction) from the Middle East with an emphasis on Iraq and Iran.

Some first responders to a reported chemical attack in Syria have died after treating victims, providing more evidence that a weapon of mass destruction was used on August 22, 2013, opposition forces said Thursday.  (Hassan Ammar, AP Photo)

A man tends to some of the hundreds of men, women and children killed in the alleged chemical attacks in Damascus, Syria, on August 21.  Graphic evidence of a failed UN and US missions in Syria.  (Photo by AP)

US Secretary of State

Like her husband President Bill Clinton, who allowed too many issues to go unchallenged in the Middle East, the current administration’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been the worst we’ve ever seen. The power and prestige of the United States has become weekend and our ineffective in this region of the world where the security for the State of Israel is always at steak has reached a highly critical stage.  It would appear there has been a serious lapse in the dialogue for peace and moderation in Syria. 

Since the days of President Theodore Roosevelt the policy of the United States in this part of the world has always been to ”speak softly and carry a big stick”; carry a very big stick, as in “gun boat diplomacy”.  It’s also helpful to have a UN Resolution in our back pocket too!

This week we have selected three articles from the media on the current Syrian crises for your consideration.  Well; since its Friday the 13th. and it’s also the 13th. year of the 21st. century who knows what could happen.  Check your Zodiac charts for a clue of some sort!  I'm Felicity Blaze Noodle and thanks for being with "The Noodleman Group".

“BBC News”

10 September 2013 Last updated at 13:24 ET
Syria Conflict: 
Disputes Flare Over 
UN Resolution

Jeremy Bowen reports from Damascus on reaction to latest developments

A Russian plan for Syria's chemical weapons to be put under international control has sparked immediate disputes over resolutions at the United Nations.
The UK, US and France want a timetable and consequences of failure spelt out, and Washington has warned it will "not fall for stalling tactics".
Russia said any draft putting the blame on Syria was unacceptable and urged a declaration backing its initiative.
Syria has said it accepts the Russian proposal on its chemical stockpile.
The US alleges that Syrian government forces carried out a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on 21 August, killing 1,429 people.
Chapter 7 of UN Charter
The Syrian government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, in a conflict that the UN says has claimed some 100,000 lives.
The UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting on Syria at 20:00 GMT.
'Hard look'
UK government sources have told the BBC that the exact wording of the joint US, French and British resolution on Syria's chemical weapons is still to be agreed.
The BBC's Nick Robinson says diplomats from the three allies are said to be discussing the questions of "what, where, when, who and how" - in other words what weapons should be removed from Syria, where should they be taken to, according to what timetable and who should supervise it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his French counterpart Laurent Fabius on Tuesday that it would not countenance a resolution threatening Syria with force.
Chemical weapons plan timeline
5-6 Sept Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama discuss idea of placing Syria's chemical weapons under international control on sidelines of G20 summit, Putin spokesman says
Monday 9 Sept
07:30 GMT At press conference with Russia's Sergei Lavrov, Syria's Walid Muallem hints at chemical weapons plan
09:12 In UK, John Kerry says Mr Assad could avert an attack if he "turn[s] over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community"
14:00 In second press conference, Mr Lavrov says he has urged Mr Muallem to "not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on their subsequent destruction". Mr Muallem welcomes proposal, and it is prominently reported on Syrian state TV, suggesting Damascus is behind plan. Mr Obama says a military strike is "absolutely" on pause if Syria yields control of its chemical weapons
"Mr Lavrov stressed that France's proposal to seek approval at the UN Security Council for a resolution... that puts the responsibility for the possible use of chemical weapons on the Syrian authorities is unacceptable," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the UN motion should ensure that Russia's offer was "not a ruse".
"We need a proper timetable, process and consequences if it's not done," he said.
Our correspondent says there is also wrangling over whether the resolution should be Chapter 7 or Chapter 6.
Chapter 7 permits military action if other measures do not succeed. Chapter 6 stipulates peaceful methods of resolving disputes.
BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall says days or even weeks of wrangling can be expected in the Security Council.
The test will be whether they can - this time- come up with a formulation they can all agree on, she says.
'American aggression'
US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier told a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee the US was waiting for details of the Russian proposal on chemical weapons, "but we're not waiting for long".
Syria's chemical weapons
·         CIA believes Syria's chemical weapons can be "delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets"
·         Syria believed to possess mustard gas and sarin, and also tried to develop more toxic nerve agents such as VX gas
·         Syria has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)
He said: "President Obama will take a hard look at it. But it has to be swift, it has to be real, it has to be verifiable.
"We have to show Syria, Russia and the world we are not going to fall for stalling tactics."
Mr Kerry urged Congress to stand by Mr Obama, saying the president was not asking for a declaration of war, simply for the power to show that the US "means what we say".
There have been few details so far of Russia's plan, but Mr Lavrov said earlier in Moscow that it was "preparing a concrete proposal which will be presented to all interested sides, including the US... a workable, specific, concrete plan".
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who is in Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying: "We held a very fruitful round of talks with [Mr Lavrov] yesterday and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening, we agreed to the Russian initiative."
This would "remove the grounds for American aggression", he said.
The US Senate had been expected to vote this week on a resolution authorising military force, but the Russian plan has led to a postponement.

Mr Kerry said that "nothing has changed with respect to our request for the Congress to take action" but that Mr Obama might want to discuss the timing of a vote with congressional leaders.
Mr Lavrov said the Russian initiative was "not a purely Russian initiative... it grew out of contacts we've had with the Americans".
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama discussed the idea on the sidelines of a G20 summit last week, Mr Putin's spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mr Obama's prime-time television address to the nation is still scheduled to go ahead on Tuesday evening, and the White House said he still planned to use it to argue that Congress should authorise the use of force if required.
"BBC News"

"The Washington Post"
10 Things That Could

Go Very Wrong

If We Attack Syria
By Ezra KleinPublished: September 5 at 3:00 pm E-mail the writer

Night falls on a Syrian rebel-controlled area of Aleppo in 2012 after air strikes targeted the area, killing dozens. (Narciso Contreras/AP)

The White House’s proposed strikes on Syria almost couldn’t be more limited. They’re likely to cost in the millions of dollars rather than the billions of dollars, and no U.S. lives are likely to be in danger. It’s “barely five percent of what we did in Libya,” says Rep. Brad Sherman.

And it’s not just the White House. The congressional authorization of force — if one ever passes — will expressly forbid committing ground troops. So even if the Obama administration wanted to escalate sharply, they’d need to persuade a reluctant Congress to pass a new law allowing them to do so.

So why is there so much debate over such a seemingly costless endeavor? Because things might go wrong. In particular, these 10 things could go wrong:

1) Our strikes could result in heavy civilian casualties. It would be the bitterest of ironies if we struck Syria to punish Assad’s barbarism only to end up killing thousands of innocent civilians ourselves. The Pentagon is working up a target list with the express intent of limiting Syrian casualties. But the intelligence behind that list could be wrong — remember when we bombed the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, or the Chinese embassy in Belgrade? — and we could hit a building full of civilians. Or a missile could malfunction. Or Assad could move civilians into the way of our strikes expressly to secure a propaganda coup.

2) Our strikes could result in Assad killing more civilians. Secretary of State John Kerry was clear before the Senate that he expects our strikes to weaken Assad’s position in the civil war. David Ignatius interviewed a rebel leader who said that the strikes “could change the balance of the civil war in Syria.”

We know that civilian casualties rise when civil wars turn against the regime. So if Assad feels more threatened after the strikes, and his forces begin massacring more innocents in an attempt to break the will of the opposition, what will we do then? Stand by, as long as they use conventional weapons? This is how escalation happens.

3) Our strikes could result in Assad killing more civilians with chemical weapons. If the regime is truly desperate and Assad (correctly) believes that the torturous congressional debate and low public support signal a limited appetite for engaging in Syria, Assad might respond to the bombs by doubling down on the attacks. The thinking here could be to telegraph defiance of the United States to his supporters and implacable, unstoppable ruthlessness to the opposition. Is it likely? Probably not. But it could happen. And then what will we do? The arguments being made before Congress certainly suggest that having committed ourselves to defending the ban on chemical weapons once, we have to keep defending it.

4) The attacks are so slight that Assad survives them easily and appears strengthened before the world. Sen. James Risch worried about this Tuesday. What “if we go in with a limited strike and, the day after or the week after or the month after, Assad crawls out of his rat hole and says, ‘Look, I stood up to the strongest power on the face of this Earth and I won?’ ” He asked.

Kerry replied that “Assad may be able to crawl out of the hole and say, look, I survived, but there’s no way that with reality and other assessments he’s going to be able to say he’s better off.” But perhaps reality and independent assessments don’t matter as much as the perception inside Syria. And predicting perceptions of the aftermath of airstrikes that haven’t happened yet is difficult at best.

5) “You bombed it, you own it.” The “Pottery Barn Rule” —- “you break it, you buy it” — became famous during the Iraq war. “You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,” Colin Powell told President Bush before the invasion of Iraq. “You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You’ll own it all.” (As it happens, that’s not the Pottery Barn’s rule. They simply write off broken merchandise as a loss.)

Syria isn’t Iraq. But a congressional force authorization followed by a bombing campaign will firmly involve us in Syria. It will make it much harder for us to say that what happens in Syria isn’t our problem. It will mean many more members of the Syrian opposition have contacts with Washington journalists and defense policymakers. The Obama administration believes it can send some missiles and be done with it. That may not prove true.

6) Reprisal. The Syrian army, Syrian army sympathizers, Syrian army allies like Hezbollah, or some other pro-Syrian — or at least anti-American — element could decide to exact revenge for our strikes in Syria by launching a terrorist attack against Americans somewhere else in the world. If 12 American tourists die after a Syria-related terrorist attack on an international hotel in the Middle East, what happens next? Do we mourn? Escalate? Is that a cost we’re willing to pay?

7) Assad falls and the chemical weapons end up in the wrong hands. Maybe our strikes do tip the balance against Assad, either by directly degrading his military strength or by emboldening the opposition. What happens to his chemical weapons then? The opposition almost certainly doesn’t know where they are. But Assad’s top loyalists do. And they’ll need to make some money fast …

8) Assad falls and is replaced by chaos. One reason the United States has been so careful to plan a limited strike is that though Assad is a monster, we’re not sure that he’ll be replaced by anyone better. Maybe our strikes unexpectedly tip the balance against Assad, but what comes next is chaotic jockeying between moderate and jihadist elements of the opposition, with a dose of revenge killings for good measure.

9) Assad falls and is replaced by something worse. Maybe our strikes unexpectedly tip the balance against Assad and the Al Nusra Front, which claims allegiance to al Qaeda, wins the resulting power struggle, or has a major role in the coalition. At Tuesday’s hearings, Kerry said he believes that unlikely. He said that recent data show that the number of “extremists” in the opposition is “lower than former expectations.” He also argued that “Syria historically has been secular, and the vast majority of Syrians, I believe, want to remain secular.”

But what if he’s wrong? The United States has officially designated Al Nusra a terrorist organization. Are we really going to be complicit in permitting them, or anyone like them, to take over Syria?

10) Escalation. Almost everything that could go wrong points towards the same ultimate response: Escalation. That could mean more bombing, or actual ground troops, or some combination. But the key fear behind intervening in Syria is that even constrained missions can unexpectedly break free of their limits.

That’s why Kerry’s early equivocation over whether the authorization of force should expressly forbid ground troops so scared the Senate, and the White House. He quickly walked it back, but it’s worth taking his original comments seriously:

In the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies and all of us, the British, the French and others, to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country.

This is what we call a “Kinsley gaffe“: Kerry was accidentally telling the truth. If we’re involved in Syria and something goes wrong, ground troops might make sense. Escalation might make sense. And that’s a major reason so many people are afraid of intervening in the first place.

One caution here is that much of what could go wrong if we intervene could go wrong if we don’t intervene, too. But that’s where the Pottery Barn rule comes in. Once we’re involved, it’s a lot harder to say that disastrous outcomes in Syria are simply an awful, regrettable thing happening elsewhere in the world rather than a war we are directly involved in, and that we have some responsibility in guiding toward a successful conclusion.

The fact that things could go wrong in Syria doesn’t mean it’s not worth intervening. As Max Fisher points out, there’s a real argument to be made for enforcing the ban on chemical weapons. But the upsides need to be balanced against a realistic view of the risks in any intervention.

Ezra Klein is the editor of Wonkblog and a columnist at the Washington Post, as well as a contributor to MSNBC and Bloomberg. His work focuses on domestic and economic policymaking, as well as the political system that’s constantly screwing it up. 

"The Washington Post"

“The New York Daily News”

Russia Suggests Syria

Surrender Chemical Weapons

To Avoid Attack 

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem says Damascus 'welcomes' the proposal as the White House describes itself as open but skeptical. The recommendation from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov follows Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Syrian President Bashar Assad could avert an attack by the U.S. by turning the weapons over to the international community.



President Obama's push for attacking Syria ran into a surprising detour when frequent antagonist Russian President Vladimir Putin said he'd persuade all Bashar Assad to turn over Damascus' deadly gas stockpile to international monitors.AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI

On the eve of President Obama’s prime time speech on the Syrian crisis, Russia ripped up the script by suddenly floating a proposal to prevent a U.S.-led attack on its ally.
Obama heralded this as a possible breakthrough and said he would take a good long look at the Kremlin’s idea, which would require Syria to turn over all its chemical weapons to international monitors.


Secretary of State John Kerry shows frustration at questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about President Obama's request for congressional authorization for military intervention in Syria.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put off an initial vote, scheduled for Wednesday, on a resolution authorizing an attack on Syria so senators could consider the proposal.
“I think it’s certainly a positive development when the Russians and the Syrians both make gestures toward dealing with these chemical weapons,” Obama said on CNN.
It was one of six TV interviews he gave, part of a full-court press that will culminate in Tuesday night’s nationally televised address on why he thinks the U.S. must act against Syria.
“If we can exhaust these diplomatic efforts and come up with a formula that gives the international community a verifiable, enforceable mechanism to deal with these chemical weapons in Syria, then I’m all for it,” he told CNN.


Russian President Vladimir Putin is a staunch Syrian ally, which adds some weight to his country’s proposal.

Obama also claimed that the Syrians wouldn’t even be considering giving up their arsenal had the U.S. not rattled its sabers — and that he spoke about the crisis with Russian leader Vladimir Putin last week at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg.
“I believe that Mr. Putin does not see the use of chemical weapons as a good thing inside of Syria or anyplace else,” he said.
In his whirlwind of interviews, Obama also tried to send a pointed message to Syrian despot Bashar Assad, who continues to deny that he used chemical weapons on his own rebellious people.
“I would say to Mr. Assad, we need a political settlement so that you’re not slaughtering your own people, uh, and, by the way, encouraging some elements of the opposition to engage in some terrible behavior, as well,” Obama said.
But when asked in a Fox News interview whether he would delay a congressional vote on a military strike in Syria, Obama said, “Right now, the American people are not persuaded.”
Obama got that right. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans now oppose attacking Syria.
In a sign of just how tough a sell it’s going to be in Congress, Obama dropped by a meeting National Security Adviser Susan Rice was having with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House to discuss Syria. He spent about an hour trying to make his case.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented the Kremlin proposal earlier Monday.
“If the establishment of international control of chemical weapons in the country will help avoid military strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus,” Lavrov said.
“We call on the Syrian leadership not only to agree to put chemical weapons storages under international control, but to also to have them destroyed subsequently.”
Syria’s foreign minister immediately gave a thumbs-up to the pitch from its most powerful ally.
“Syria welcomes Russia’s proposal for Damascus to put its chemical weapons under international control,” Walid al-Moallem said.


Free Syrian Army fighters walk inside a damaged house near Hanano Barracks in Aleppo on Sept. 3. Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to blame the rebels for a chemical attack that killed an estimated 1,400 people last month, setting up a showdown with the U.S. government.

White House and State Department officials were wary at first, saying they were open to the Russian idea but that they wanted more assurances from the Syrians that they are not just “stalling.”
Then Philip Gordon, a top aide to Obama on the Middle East,
said the administration was concerned the offer might be a ploy to try and delay military action.
But some Democrats in Congress — caught between loyalty to the President and growing opposition back home — were quick to embrace the Russian offer.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed no qualms about the proposal.
“I would welcome such a move,” the California Democrat said. “I believe that Russia can be most effective in encouraging the Syrian president to stop any use of chemical weapons and place all his chemical munitions, as well as storage facilities, under United Nations control until they can be destroyed.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-Ill.), who said she is leaning toward backing Obama’s request to strike Syria, called the offer “very interesting.”
“If that would work, that would be a great thing, I think,” she said.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), who backs attacking Syria and was one of several Republican legislators who met at the White House on Monday to discuss convincing their reluctant colleagues to support Obama on this, said he would leave it to the State Department to weigh the proposal.
And Rep. Steve Israel (D-L.I.) said that despite the Russians’ offer, the onus remains on Obama “to make his case” and persuade many undecided members during a national address Tuesday evening.
“It puts the “prime” in prime time,” said Israel.
The White House says Assad should be punished for allegedly killing 1,400 people, including more than 400 children, last month in the deadliest chemical weapons attack in the world in 25 years.


Free Syrian Army fighters and civilians help a wounded boy rescued from rubble after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Aleppo on Aug. 16. The country has been mired in civil war for 2.5 years.

Putin claims there is no evidence that Assad gassed his own people and has warned the United Nations that Russia would use its veto power in the Security Council to block any attempt to authorize military intervention.
Before the whipsawing diplomatic developments, Kerry suggested Assad could save his own skin by turning over “every single bit” of his chemical weapons arsenal.
That way, Kerry said, Assad would be held “accountable without [the U.S.] engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort.”
Kerry, who was in London trying to building international support for military intervention in the Syrian civil war, added that he didn’t think Assad would agree to his proposal.
An hour later, Assad’s foreign minister upended Kerry’s expectations.
Obama has asked Congress for the green light to strike Syria and has stressed repeatedly that he envisions a “limited” military attack that involves no “boots on the ground.”
Before the Russians floated their proposal, Assad tried talking tough.
“You should expect everything,” he warned in an interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose. “If you strike somewhere, you have to expect the repercussions somewhere else,” he said.


An opposition fighter holds a rocket-propelled grenade as his comrades take cover from an attack by regime forces on Aug. 26 during clashes over the strategic area of Khanasser, which is situated on the only road linking Aleppo to central Syria.

Assad again blamed the chemical attack on the rebels who have been trying to oust him for 2.5 years.
“It’s not only the government [that’s] the only player in this region,” he said. “You have different parties. You have different factions. You have different ideology. You have everything in this region now. So you have to expect that.”
Kerry has said that only the Syrian government has the ability to launch a chemical strike. But the White House is also leery of the rebels because much of the fighting is being led by Islamists with Al Qaeda ties.
While Obama has said Assad must go, he was doesn’t want him replaced with an Al Qaeda symapthizer who would turn mostly secular Syria into an Islamic state.
Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post Poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose a U.S. military strike on Syria:
64% oppose air strikes, up 5 percentage points from week ago
30% are in favor,
down 6 points
If Congress rejects action:
76% oppose air strikes
17% would be in favor
If Congress approves air strikes:
48% would still be opposed
44% would be in favor
Regardless of congressional action:
71% of Republicans oppose attacking Syria, up from 55% last week
55% or Democrats oppose attacking Syria, up one point from last week
The poll was a random sample of 1,020 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
On Monday, the White House released a joint statement Obama was able to arrange with 10 other countries on the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons. That statement appears below.


Office of the Press Secretary

"The New York Daily News"

Syria, the Apotheosis of Barbarism

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