Obama seeks Syria support from former foe McCain
So far, he is finding few international partners willing to engage in a conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the past 2½ years and dragged in terrorist groups on both sides of the battlefield.
Only France is firmly on board among the major military powers. Britain’s Parliament rejected the use of force in a vote last week.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Monday the information the U.S. showed Moscow to prove the Syrian regime was behind the chemical attack was "absolutely unconvincing."
With Navy ships on standby in the eastern Mediterranean ready to launch missiles, Congress on Sunday began a series of meetings that are expected to continue over the next several days in preparation for a vote once lawmakers return from summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept. 9.
Senior administration officials gave a two-hour classified briefing to dozens of members of Congress in the Capitol on Sunday.
Lawmakers expressed a range of opinions coming out of the meeting, from outright opposition to strident support for Obama’s request for the authorization to use force.
Among Democrats, Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan said he’d approve Obama’s request and predicted it would pass. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said he was concerned the authorization might be "too broad." Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration still has "work to do with respect to shoring up the facts of what happened."
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said she was concerned about what Congress was being asked to approve. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the war resolution needed tightening.
"I don’t think Congress is going to accept it as it is," Sessions said.