Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2013 Contents A37
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HOUSTON---Protesters around the
world took to the streets yesterday to
protest for and against a possible US-
led attack on Syria as President Barack
Obama announced he would seek
congressional approval for such a move.
In Houston, home to a large
population of Syrian-Americans, about
100 people lined up on opposite sides of
a street in an upscale neighbourhood to
express opposing views on a possible
"We want any kind of action. The
world has stood silently and it's been
too long. Something needs to be done,"
said Tamer Barazi, who carried a Syrian
Standing across the street in
Houston's sweltering heat were those
opposing US intervention, outnumbering
In Washington, as Obama addressed
the nation crowds of anti-war
demonstrators gathered outside the
White House. "Obama, hands off Syria."
In London, more than 1,000
protesters carrying Syrian flags and
placards marched to Downing Street
and rallied in Trafalgar Square.
And about 700 people turned out for
an anti-war demonstration in Frankfurt,
Germany, police said. (AP)
Possible US-led attack on Syria sparks rallies
Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border, yesterday. UN chemical weapons experts have left Syria
and crossed into neighbouring Lebanon. AP PHOTO
In a dramatic turnaround, Pres-
ident Obama said yesterday that
he will wait for congressional
authorisation to punish Syria for
a chemical weapons attack, even
though he has decided a military
strike is needed.
"We should have this debate," the
president said in an announcement
in the White House Rose Garden.
"I respect the views of those who
call for caution."
After more than a week of delib-
eration, Obama essentially put the
onus on Congress to stop him from
launching missile strikes against tar-
gets of the regime of Syrian President
Bashar Assad. Lawmakers are not
scheduled to return from their
August recess until September 9.
"I have decided that the United
States should take military action
against Syrian regime targets,"
Obama said, adding that he intends
such action to be "limited in duration
With Vice President Joseph R
Biden at his side, Obama said, "I m
confident we can hold the Assad
regime accountable for their use of
chemical weapons, deter this kind
of behaviour, and degrade their
capacity to carry it out."
The president said US military
forces are positioned in the region
to strike at his command.
"The chairman of the Joint Chiefs
has informed me that we are pre-
pared to strike whenever we choose,"
Obama said. "Moreover, the chair-
man has indicated to me that our
capacity to execute this mission is
not time-sensitive; it will be effective
tomorrow, or next week, or one
month from now. And I m prepared
to give that order."
But he said he has consulted again
with congressional leaders yesterday
morning and will wait for lawmakers
to vote on military action. The Dem-
ocratic and Republican leaders of
both the House and Senate have
agreed to hold a debate and vote on
a Syrian military strike, the president
The announcement came as a
surprise because Obama had been
signalling for the past several days
that he intends to send a "shot across
the bow" to the Syrian regime. He
said Friday he was contemplating
"limited" action against Syria.
For the past week, administration
officials have deflected questions
about seeking congressional autho-
risation for military action, saying
only that Obama was willing to
The president said lawmakers now
bear responsibility for upholding
international rules against wartime
atrocities. (The Washington Times)
...to seek Congress vote on Syria attack
President Barack Obama, right, stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he
makes a statement about the crisis in Syria in the Rose Garden at the White
House in Washington, yesterday. AP PHOTO
dent Vladimir Putin urged
President Obama yesterday
not to rush into a decision
on striking Syria, but to con-
sider whether strikes would
help end the violence and be
worth the civilian casualties
they would inevitably cause.
Speaking for the first time
since the suspected chemical
weapons attack on August 21,
Putin also questioned whether
Syrian government troops
should be held responsible.
He said it would make no
sense for them to carry out
such a devastating attack
while they were on the offen-
"In such conditions, to give
a trump card to those who
are calling for foreign military
intervention is foolish non-
sense," Putin said.
The United States said Fri-
day that the attack in a rebel-
held suburb of Damascus, the
Syrian capital, killed 1,429
people, including more than
The Russian leader implied
the chemical attack came
from among the rebels, saying
he was convinced it was a
provocation carried out by
those who wanted to draw in
the United States.
If the Americans have evi-
dence to the contrary they
should present it to the United
Nations inspectors and the
UN Security Council, he said.
"If there is evidence it should
be presented," Putin said. "If
it is not presented, that means
it does not exist."
Putin s foreign policy advis-
er complained Friday that
Russia had not seen the US
intelligence that Washington
insists proves the role of the
Putin urges US president:
Don't hand 'trump
card' to rebels
COST OF WAR
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