US Senate panel backs use of force in Syria
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution authorising a military strike in Syria. (AFP)
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The vote by the panel clears the way for a vote on the resolution in the full Senate that would possibly be next week, Reuters reported.
But many members of Congress reluctant to the authorization are worried that the strike could lead to a longer military involvement in the Syrian war and escalate regional violence.
The resolution would authorize President Barack Obama to order a limited military operation on Syria that wouldn’t exceed 90 days and involve American troops on the ground.
Obama issued a blunt challenge to skeptical U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to approve his plan for a military strike on Syria, saying otherwise they would put America’s international prestige and their own credibility at risk, Reuters reported.
Using a visit to Sweden to build his case for limited military action against Syrian President Assad, Obama insisted that the international community could not remain silent in the face of the “barbarism” of the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack he blamed on Syrian government forces
The resolution passed by a vote of 10-7, with one senator merely voting "present," The Associated Press reported.
The two panel leaders Democratic Chairman Robert Menendez and senior Republican Bob Corker crafted the resolution with a compromise to meet concerns from some lawmakers.
The committee adopted amendments proposed by John McCain with policy goals of degrading Assad's ability to use chemical weapons, increasing support for rebel forces and reversing battlefield momentum to create conditions for Assad's removal Reuters reported.
McCain had backed President Obama's resolution after a meeting at the White House on Monday and said that it would be catastrophic if the Congress were to reject a resolution.
The voting marks the first time politicians vote to authorize a military operation since October 2002, when President George W. Bush was approved to invade Iraq.