Barack Obama will seek authorization from legislators before proceeding with a ‘limited’ strike on Syria, in response to its government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. The president says the proposed strike is not “time-sensitive”.
“Over the last several days, we have heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree,” said Obama during a press statement outside the White House.
The President insisted that he did not need the approval of the legislative assembly, but would make the case for the strike “stronger”.
Obama said that he sought to “make the Assad regime accountable” for the August 21 attack near Damascus in which the US says more than 1,400 civilians were killed with a toxic gas.
But he also said that the mission will be “effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now.”
“We are prepared to strike whenever we choose,” said the President.
Congress returns to session on September 9, and will immediately begin debating the Syrian operation. Obama said that he was heedful of a similar debate conducted in the UK parliament, in which the Conservative government, which endorses direct military action, was defeated by the opposition.
The President stated that he would not rely on unanimous consensus of the UN Security Council, which is necessary for a United Nations-backed operation, saying the body had been “paralyzed”. Russia and China have repeatedly voted against the West on Syria, and Vladimir Putin has said that claims that Bashar Assad’s government was behind the gas attack are “a provocation”.