Barack Obama Presses to Convince Congress of a Syria Strike. The White House is lobbying elected officials to endorse military action when Congress takes up the debate next week. Opinions are split over whether they’ll approve the move. Obama did gain the backing of Senator John McCain, which could help him sway other Republicans to support the strike. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets on Tuesday for a hearing on Syria, where senior officials will make the case for military intervention.
France Remains the Sole Strong Backer of a U.S. Strike. The French National Assembly holds a debate on Wednesday over military action in Syria. President Francois Hollande says France is ready to strike Syria alongside the U.S.
The Arab League is Split Over Calls for Military Action. Saudi Arabia is for it, Egypt is against it. Collectively, they found neutral ground by calling for the U.N. to “take necessary measures” against the Syrian government.
Russia Snubbed U.S. Intel on Chemical Weapons as it Prepares to Host the G20. “We were shown certain pieces of evidence that did not contain anything concrete,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In awkward and/or opportune timing, Russia hosts Obama and other world leaders at the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Syrian Refugees Pass 2 Million Mark. A statement by the U.N. Refugee Agency called Syria’s refugee crisis “a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.” Roughly 97% of refugees are in Syria’s neighboring countries, putting “an overwhelming burden” on states like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
President Bashar al-Assad Warned of Chaos and Regional War if the West attacks Syria. In an interview with Le Figaro (highlights here), he said military intervention would “set off a powder keg” that “everyone would lose control of once ignited.” Assad added: “Chaos and extremism would ensue … there is a risk of regional war.”
Analysts Chart the Implications of a Syria Strike. The International Crisis Group says it’s a “fool’s errand” to try to assess the impact of a strike, given the extent of unpredictable factors. But it posted a profound analysis on the implications of a military confrontation, given key dynamics on the ground.
Suggested Reads from Our Editorial Team:
Reuters: Obama Lobbies for Syria Vote
The Guardian: Vladimir Putin Under Growing Pressure
Hurriyet Daily: Syria Reconstruction Would Cost $73 Billion
Al Monitor: Attacking al-Qaida in Syria
Foreign Policy: French Spies Provide New Details on Assad’s Chemical Weapons