US Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking to rally European Union support for military strikes against Syria after President Obama failed to muster the support of world leaders at Russia’s G - 20 summit for his war plans.
Following his intense lobbying efforts in US Congress, Kerry is now seeking the support of the EU’s 28 foreign ministers in Lithuania, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating chair. According to a US State Department official, Washington is already aware that “there are divisions within the EU” over a possible US-led attack on Syria, however, Kerry is expecting “a fairly detailed discussion” about the Obama administration’s war plans. Kerry will later fly to Paris to hold talks with French officials. So far, only France has said that it is ready to take part in military action, while Britain and Denmark have expressed their support. The US Secretary of State will also meet with Arab League leaders to update them on Syria. Kerry has already said that some Arab countries have offered to pay the entire cost of a US attack on Syria. Kerry’s lobbying efforts come after Obama failed to persuade foreign leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Russia this week to back military strikes against Syria. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 in favor of a resolution authorizing the Obama administration to attack Syria. A vote on Capitol Hill is expected to be held on military action against Syria after US lawmakers return from recess on September 9. However, reports and polls have shown that there is overwhelming opposition to a US attack on the Middle Eastern country both within the American public and US Congress. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll has shown that nearly 60 percent of Americans are against missile strikes on Syria over allegations by the US and its allies that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against militant groups. Meanwhile, data from a whip count by Think Progress suggest that an overwhelming majority of members of the US House of Representatives are either undecided or likely to vote against military strikes on Syria. Amid fierce opposition in the US to a possible US attack on Syria, the Pentagon is considering to broaden its strike capacity using US Air Force assets including weapons-bearing bombers. The Obama administration is also planning to use US and French aircraft to conduct strikes in Syria as Obama has ordered the Pentagon to expand the list of potential strike targets in the Arab country.