Obama pushes for Syria strike in televised address

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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama pushed his case for military strikes against the Syrian regime in a televised address to the nation despite a promise from Damascus to hand over its chemical arms for destruction. Obama said that he had deeply held preference for peaceful solutions and had seen encouraging signs in the last few days. The US president added that he had asked Congress to postpone votes on Syria action to pursue diplomatic solution, noting that Secretary of State John Kerry would head to Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday.

He futher said that the US will work with France, Britain, China and Russia on a United Nations’ Resolution requiring Assad to give up chemical weapons.

However, Obama said that it was too early to tell if the Russian plan on Syria would succeed adding that the initiative had the potential to remove weapons without force.

President Barack Obama said that he had ordered the US military to maintain its position to keep pressure on Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to be ready to respond if diplomacy failed.

He said the use of chemical weapons on Aug 21 shifted his thinking and that the United States must respond with a military strike to deter future use of such weapons.

In his televised address Obama said that the Assad government did not have the ability to seriously threaten US military and added that Israel could defend itself with overwhelming force and US support.

Obama said that after Iraq, Afghanistan he knows that idea of military action not popular and that no ground troops, no open-ended action, no prolonged air campaign would take place in Syria.

He said that the US was not the world’s policeman, but when with “modest effort and risk” it can stop children from being gassed to death, US should act, adding that some times resolutions or statements of condemnation were simply not enough.

The US president added that even a limited US strike would be no ‘pinprick’ and that it would send a message to Syria’s Assad and that a targeted strike would make him think twice before using chemical weapons.

Obama said no one disputes that chemical weapons were used and said thousands of Syrians have died from them.

The US president said that ‘we know’ Assad regime is responsible for chemical weapons attack and that Syria’s use of chemical weapons violates international law, and is a ”danger to our security”.

“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons,” said Obama.

He added that ‘other tyrants’ will think nothing of using poison gas if US does not act on Syria.

Obama said that Iran would be emboldened and al Qaeda would draw strength if world sees innocent civilians being gassed in Syria without global response.

US President Barack Obama denounced what he called the “sickening” chemical weapons attack by Syrian forces in the Damascus suburbs, and said it posed a “danger” to US security as US ideals, principals, national security were at stake in Syria.

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend on the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory,” Obama, making his case for military action, said in a much-anticipated televised address to the nation.

“The question now is what the United States of America and the international community is prepared to do about it,” he added.