WASHINGTON — A Senate panel has voted to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.
The vote Wednesday was 10-7, with one senator voting present. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.
The resolution would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations.
The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.
The vote marked the first time lawmakers have voted to authorize military action since the October 2002 votes giving President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.
Obama: Congress, world credibility on line
In an impassioned appeal for support both at home and abroad, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate over how to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. As Obama made his case overseas during a visit to Sweden, his proposal for military intervention was under consideration by skeptical House members at home.
Asked about his past comments drawing a "red line" against the use of chemical weapons, Obama said it was a line that had first been clearly drawn by countries around the world and by Congress, in ratifying a treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons.
"That wasn't something I made up," he said. "I didn't pluck it out of thin air. There's a reason for it."
Obama said that if the world fails to act, "we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important."
And that, he said, would embolden despots and repressive regimes around the world to flout all sorts of international standards.
Putin warns West on Syria action
President Vladimir Putin warned the West against taking one-sided action in Syria but also said Russia "doesn't exclude" supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes if it is proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television, Putin said Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has frozen further shipments. He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without U.N. Security Council backing.
The interview Tuesday night at Putin's country residence outside the Russian capital was the only one he granted prior to the summit of G-20 nations in St. Petersburg, which opens Thursday.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.