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Inside Syria

Can Obama win support for a strike on Syria?

As the US argues for military intervention, we examine the reasons why some world powers support it and others do not.

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2013 14:40
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US President Barack Obama is still seeking support for military strikes against Bashar al-Assad's forces.

He [Obama] is now back in the US preparing to make a presentation to the American public ... to explain the entire picture. And I think that our public and our Congress are waiting for that presentation. There is still a strong desire for the evidence on which the president has based his decision.

Richard Murphy, a former US ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia

Obama says the Syrian regime must be punished for an alleged chemical attack on civilians last month. But he has a long way to go to convince legislators at home, and would-be allies abroad.

Several nations have signed a statement that support a strong international response but of course that falls short of backing a military strike.

France says it will wait until the United Nations releases its report into the alleged attack before it supports a US campaign.

The European Union agrees and EU policy chief Catherine Ashton said: "In the face of this cynical use of chemical weapons, the international community cannot remain idle. A clear and strong response is crucial to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity."

On the other side, Russian President Vladimir Putin is leading the charge against Obama's case for a military strike on the al-Assad regime.

At the G20 conference in St Petersburg, Putin said: "As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who state that government forces have used weapons of mass destruction - in this case used chemical weapons - and say that they have evidence, let them present it to the UN inspectors and the UN Security Council."

China is also on the same side as Russia and several other countries that have spoken out against the US-led campaign, including India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.

But some of the strongest voices in the 'no' camp are coming from the United Nations. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says a US strike would make the situation worse.

Anyone who uses chemical weapons should be punished .... But who is that side that used chemical weapons against the civil population?

Vyacheslav Matuzov, a former Russian diplomat

“I must warn that ill-considered military action could cause serious and tragic consequences, and with an increased threat of further sectarian violence,” he said.

Lahkdar Brahimi, the UN envoy to Syria, said at the G20 conference in a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: "International law says that no country is allowed to take the law into their hands - they have to go through the Security Council."

So who is on what side and for what reasons? Will President Obama be able to convince his allies, the US Congress and the US public to support a strike on Syria?

Inside Syria is joined by guests: Richard Murphy, a former US ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia; Saleh Mubarak from the Syrian National Council; and Vyacheslav Matuzov, a former Russian diplomat and currently the chairman of the Russian Friendship Society with Arab Countries.

"We have a firm belief and evidence that it was the Syrian regime [that used chemical weapons] .... I don't think anyone can argue when a cluster bomb or ... vacuum bomb or whatever bomb is dropped from the sky, I don't think anyone agues that it was the Syrian regime because the opposition doesn't have [an] air force. so there is no question who is killing civilians in Syria, who is destroying the country."

Saleh Mubarak, Syrian National Council

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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