Obama Warns G-20 'Credibility at Stake' on Syria

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A Senate panel has voted to allow President Barack Obama the authority to use military force in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons on its people.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resulotion 10-7, with one senator voting present.

The measure would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations.

It now heads to the full Senate but not all lawmakers are not convinced that an attack is in United States' interest.

***So far, the president is getting support from Republicans on Syria. Is this bipartisan collaboration going to last? CBN News's David Brody addresses that question and more on CBN Newswatch, Sept. 4.

Obama is trying to drum up support in Congress for a strike against Syria. But he's doing it from Europe, where global leaders are set to kick off the G-20 summit.

For a leader trying to persuade Europeans and Republicans to see his point of view, Obama sounded awfully defiant in Sweden.

"My credibility's not on the line," Obama said Wednesday at a joint press conference in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. "The international community's credibility and Congress's credibility is on the line."

The president also claims he wasn't the one that drew a red line on Syria's chemical weapons.
 
"The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the West about taking military action against Syria.

In an interview overnight, Putin was asked if he would agree to military force in Syria if the government was found to have used chemical weapons on its citizens.

"I do not exclude this, but I would like to draw your attention to one absolutely key. In line with international law, only the U.N. Security Council could sanction the use of force against a sovereign state," Putin answered.

"Any other pretext or method, which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent sovereign state, is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an aggression," he warned.

Despite the combative talk from America's commander in chief, he got House Speaker John Boehner's backing for an attack.

"I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action," the Ohio lawmaker said.

Top cabinet members spent a second day on Capitol Hill Wednesday, trying to convince more lawmakers that their promise of no U.S. boots on the ground and no regime change will ease fears.

But they have work to do, even among Democrats.

"We can't be a sheriff for the whole world, either," Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said.

While the Senate considers a 60-day limit to any U.S. action, Israelis are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his military is watching Syria closely.

"While we are not involved in the internal conflict in Syria, we will defend ourselves if it is necessary," Netanyahu said. "We will act with resolve to protect our people.  No one should doubt our resolve."

Meanwhile, polls show that a sizable majority of Americans are not keen on military action in the Middle East.

"We should not go to war with Syria," one person said. "We should just mind our own business."

But the Obama administration has determined it is America's business to punish the Assad regime for killing its citizens with chemical weapons. The administration still has a long way to go to get the votes he needs for support in Washington.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.