Obama seeks Congressional approval before striking Syria

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

John Kerry
Secretary of State, John F. Kerry.

In the international showdown with Syria over President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on citizens, Obama has taken what seems to be a step back from punishing Syria for crossing his “red line” warning. He is now seeking approval from Congress before ordering an attack, even though he technically has the authority to just go ahead.

The move seems to reflect the UK, where Prime Minister David Cameron vocally supported joining the US in a strike on Syria, yet allowed the British Parliament to decide the course of action; they voted against it. France and Turkey have expressed willingness to join the US in using military force on al-Assad’s government, but they will wait for the US Congress to make a decision as well.

US Secretary of State John Kerry says al-Assad’s soldiers used the chemical nerve agent “sarin” in the suburb of Damascus. Despite US intelligence stating they have evidence, Obama knows that the United Nations (UN), Russia, and China are against using military aggression on Syria. This delicate situation means Obama will wait until Congress returns on September 9 before deciding anything.

The political juggling by Obama has caused the Syrian state-run newspaper, Al-Thawra, to say that this is “the beginning of the historic American retreat.” A top Syrian official calls Obama’s delay a “political and media maneuver” and believes that Syria is ready for any attack.