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US Congress accelerates vote on Syria

world Updated: Sep 06, 2013 10:12 IST
United States

The United States Congress has accelerated the process for debate and vote on a resolution to authorise the US President, Barack Obama, for military action against Syria, even as Senators believe the White House lacks the necessary vote.

"In order for the resolution to be filed in the Senate in a timely manner, the Senate and the House will each convene for a pro forma session today," Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, said.

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are likely to take up the debate and vote on the issue early next week.

In a letter to her Congressional colleagues, Pelosi said the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to authorise limited and targeted military action in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime addressed some of the concerns expressed by many in the House.

"Specifically, the resolution prevents boots on the ground, ties the authorisation more closely to the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction and has a limited timetable," she said.

The Senate will convene today for a pro forma session, for allowing the Foreign Relations Committee to file a joint resolution to authorise the limited use of military forces against Syria.

No other business will be conducted, she added.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said that she would show to the lawmakers a video produced by the CIA showing effects of last month's chemical weapons attack in Syria.

"You'll see from the videos that they're put together and I think they took 170 videos and siphoned them down to 13, which have very probative points in them with respect to the use of chemical weapons," said Feinstein.

Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham, said the resolution authorising military strike on Syria has the danger of falling through the Congress.

"I think if the vote was taken right now, it would be too close to call in the Senate and would surely lose in the House," he said.

The top Senator said the US President, Barack Obama, is "well short" of the votes he needs in the House because he has failed to make the case to the American people.

"Mr President, you've been uncertain, unclear. You have to now come out with a certain plan and a resolve that I have not seen," he said.

"When you're talking about war, the only thing you can be sure of is that you can't be sure of anything. I think people are foolish to think that we can do something like this and it will have no other consequences to speak of," said Congressman Alan Grayson.

Representative Carol Shea-Porter said he is concerned about the military strike.

"If we have a strike that's too strong we could remove Assad and what we would get is an alphabet soup of a lot of extremists. So I think it's too risky.

And if we're too light a strike, I don't think it accomplishes what we're hoping to do and it would also embolden Assad," he said.