US President Barack Obama is facing an up-hill struggle to convince Congress to back military strikes against Syria in response to last month’s alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
His aides have launched a political offensive in the run-up to next week’s debate as numerous lawmakers have begun voicing concerns.
The president has also been making calls to members of the House of Representatives and Senate.
Several top politicians seemed sceptical as they emerged from an intelligence briefing on Syria with Obama’s national security team.
Texan Republican Michael Burgess said: “We heard a lot of information. A lot of pros and cons. I have to tell you, in my mind, it’s far from settled, it’s not something that should be undertaken lightly.”
“I feel terrible about the chemical weapons that have been used, however we know that chemical weapons have been used in other instances and we did not take military action. I am hoping to find an answer to the question: ‘Is there another way to hold Assad accountable’ This is what the international community wants to do,” said Democrat Senator Janice Hahn.
Hahn said the participants appeared “evenly divided” on whether to give Obama approval.
Meanwhile in Cairo a meeting of the Arab League highlighted the divisions among its members. Saudi Arabia said it was not enough justto issue a condemnation of Syria over a poison gas attack which the US claims killed over 1,000 people.
However Egypt remained opposed to foreign military intervention. Their final resolution urged the international community to take action against the Syrian government.
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