Three Republican congressmen have expressed skepticism that US lawmakers would approve military action against Syria as President Barack Obama says he would seek congressional approval for such a measure.
Sen. James Inhofe(R - Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Rand Paul(R - Ky.), and Rep. Peter King(R - N. Y.), have predicted that US Congress would not approve military strikes against Syria. On Saturday, Obama said he has decided that Washington should launch military strikes against Syria but he said that he would seek authorization for an attack from Congress when US lawmakers return from recess on September 9. Obama formally submitted a draft resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria to both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Saturday. House Speaker John Boehner(R - Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D - Nev.) both promised to schedule a vote soon after federal lawmakers return to Capitol Hill from recess. “I don’t think they will[approve], ” said Inhofe onFox News Sunday.
“It may sound real easy when people like Secretary Kerry say this is going to be quick and we’re going to go in and we’re going to send a few cruise missiles and wash our hands and go home. It doesn’t work that way. This could be a war in the Middle East. It’s serious, ” Inhofe added.
Rand Paul, who opposes a possible US military action against Syria, also said on NBC News’Meet The Pressthat he believes the odds are “50/50” that US lawmakers at the House would approve the resolution but US senators “rubber stamp what[Obama] wants. ” Meanwhile, Peter King, a hawkish member of the House supporting military action against Syria, said onFox News Sunday, “It is going to be difficult to get the vote through in Congress, especially when there is going to be time during the next nine days for opposition to build up to it.” While Obama has said that he seeks congressional approval for attacking Syria, he has not made it explicit whether he would use his authority as the commander-in-chief to attack Syria if Congress rejects his call for action. The US released an intelligence report on Friday alleging the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, killing 1,429 people. The Syrian government has strongly rejected the allegation. US allegations come as United Nations experts have taken blood and urine samples from victims and soil samples from areas where chemical weapons were alleged to have been used. The samples will be tested in Europe. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) has also said that members of the US military have told him to vote against military intervention in Syria, arguing that Obama “hasn’t come close” to justifying war against Syria. A number of US military officers, from captains to a four-star general, have also expressed serious concerns over the wisdom and the consequences of a possible US military strike against Syria. President Assad said on Sunday that his country is capable of confronting any external aggression after over two years of dealing with foreign-backed “internal terrorism.”