Posted by: Chuck | September 13, 2013

Obama: U.S. military ready if Russia’s Syria plan fails

President Barack Obama warned late Tuesday that America’s military will be ready to strike Syria if a Russian-backed diplomatic plan to secure and destroy Bashar Assad’s stockpiles of chemical weapons fails. “I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails,” Obama said in a formal address to the nation from the White House.

But Obama, making the case for the latest dizzying spin of his muddled and unpopular Syria policy, did not set a time frame for Moscow’s approach to succeed. “The Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons,” he said. “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that Assad keeps its commitments.”

“But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force,” he said.

“I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path,” he said.

The president said he had spoken to French President François Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and that Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Thursday with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

The United States, Britain and France will work with Russia and China — which have vetoed U.N. Security Council action on Syria — to craft a resolution “requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control.” Amid concerns that Assad could emerge strengthened from the standoff with the United States, Obama did not restate his longstanding policy that the Syrian leader cannot stay in power. Instead, he repeated his observation that “the United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.” Source: Yahoo News 9/12/13)




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