Skip to comments.Possible Compromise Bill on Syria Intervention Emerges in Senate
Posted on 09/07/2013 8:31:11 PM PDT by ClaytonP
A familiar refrain among proponents of intervention in Syria is that “doing nothing is not an option.” While a wide range of non-military options have been proposed in the public sphere, from increasing aid to rebel groups to plowing money into programs for refugees, there hasn’t been much in the Senate outside of the military intervention proposal passed by the Foreign Relations Committee.
But Friday, Senators Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp floated one possible alternative: a bill that would demand that Bashar al-Assad sign Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty and take “concrete steps” to comply. If he failed to do so within forty-five days, the United States would launch a military attack.
The bill, which was first reported by Politico is still being drafted. Here is a full summary obtained by Roll Call:
Statement of Policy. It is the policy of the United States that-
The Government of Syria must become a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and take concrete steps to comply with the terms and conditions of the Convention;
The failure by the government of Bashar al-Assad to sign and comply with the Convention clearly demonstrates a disregard of international norms on the use of chemical weapons;
and If the Government of Syria does not sign the Convention within 45 after the date of the enactment of this resolution, all elements of national power will be considered by the United States government.
Requirement for a Syria strategy and building and international coalition. Not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, the President shall submit to Congress a long term strategy for Syria, while concurrently using all appropriate diplomatic tools to develop and secure commitments from the international community with the shared strategic interest of preventing the proliferation and use of Syria’s chemical weapons.
The bill has some obvious drawbacks—namely, if one believes the intelligence, Assad has already explicitly failed to comply with the treaty by launching attacks. The bill is vulnerable to criticism that it essentially gives Assad a pass on the initial attack, and just offers him the opportunity for a do-over. Moreover, as Juan Cole and other observers have speculated, Assad used the weapons because he feels existentially threatened by the rebellion in his country. A warning from the United States might not change his calculus at all, and thus only forestall, but not prevent, military action.
On the other hand, proponents of intervention repeatedly say their goal is to stop the use of chemical weapons, and if this resolution passed and Assad did sign the treaty, the mission would be accomplished. Manchin and Heitkamp aren’t commenting on the bill yet, but would likely argue it at least gives a diplomatic solution a chance before the bombs started dropping.
It seems unlikely this legislation could pass the Senate, given presumed opposition from the White House and proponents of intervention, along with doves who don’t want any roadmap to military intervention, period. But it may still have an immediate effect on the debate: namely, it could give senators who want to vote against the military intervention some cover, by providing an alternative they can support.
The bill will likely be introduced in full next week, and we’ll be sure to follow up.
This is the key line. This will give Congress members plausible deniability that they weren't initiating another war.
Assad won't sign the treay, he will thumb his nose and then Obama will be able to attack without consulting Congress again.
They were for the bombing before they were against it?
Smarmy, slimy eels squirming under the spotlight... Repugnant, repulsive retrobates...
Get real. Obama is not going to bomb Syria, with or without a vote on anything. If you have not figured it out yet, this debacle is no longer about
punishing Assad. It is now only about political gain, as evidenced by this
And, if Assad doesn’t sign in 45 days, we will be really, really, mad - and we mean it this time! /s
I have a comprise for them... Impeach Obama, and indite him for treason.
Manchi, “JOKE”!!! They, the Obamabots low life are desparate!!! Trash can material!!! Congress Critters....vote “NO” and deny Obama approval to attack Syria. Send him and his Obamabot cohorts to Syria to do in Assad and company!!! Do not send one USA military person, woman or man to be put in harm’s way to cover Obama’s failed and uselss butt!! In fact: Impeach Obama!!!!
It won't be a letter, it will be WWIII and the squishes in the House and Senate will get to say they didn't really want another war.
Really, Heidi, of what value is an agreement signed under duress?
All you are doing is setting Assad up to be punked by the AlQaida elements there who only have to stage another 'attack' to get free air cover.
Simultaneously, you doom a few hundred average slobs (or maybe just Christians) there to be the subjects thereof. A few head wraps later, and some time with a video camera, and AQ and the MB have air support.
These people are terrorists, and a few innocents (or a few hundred) mean nothing to them if that is all it takes to achieve their goals.
But if the House does stop this, even if obama didn’t want to bomb in the first place, be ready for the mother of all temper tantrums from him. It will be bad, and obama knows how to serve up paybacks.
Syria still isn't anything to do with U.S. interests.
These idiots go from bad to worse.
Which means what-total war?
I would rather have a temper tantrum, than risk one American’s life, or spend one American dollar starting WW3.
Absolutely, All we are saying, is give peace a chance.
That simply isn't going to happen. If Obama can't be bothered to submit a simple resolution on Syria, relying instead on Senate Democrats to write one for him, then how can anyone expect him to come up with a long-term strategy?
Gee, such a decisive statement. And in all of this, no one in the Obama Administration has gone on the record to state unequivocally that the Syrian government was responsible for the gas attack. So let's say Assad signs the treaty and takes concrete steps to comply, yet the gas attacks continue? Then what? Or better yet, what if Obama fails to submit his long term policy on Syria just as he has failed to do on every other long-term commitment he had?