International Community Hedges Bets as Senate Readies for Syria Vote

International leaders are questioning whether President Obama has the legal authority to authorize an attack on Syria

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Brendan McDermid / Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 3, 2013.

As U.S. President Barack Obama inches closer to securing legislative approval for missile strikes against Syria, international leaders are questioning whether the American head of state has the legal authority to authorize such attacks even with the backing of Congress.

Obama is currently awaiting a key vote from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, prospectively set for Wednesday, that would allow military action against the forces of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On Tuesday, the committee penned a bipartisan draft resolution that would provide the Oval Office with a 90-day window to strike Syria with the caveat that no troops land on Syrian soil during the operation.

According to a draft of the resolution, the President would be allowed to use military force “he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria” as punishment for the Assad government’s alleged use of chemical agents against its own citizens in the suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21, and to deter the regime from using similar weapons in the future.

During an interview with the Associated Press in Moscow on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. against unleashing a unilateral strike.

“According to the current international law, only the United Nations Security Council can sanction the use of force against a sovereign state,” he said. “Any other approaches, means, to justify the use of force against an independent and sovereign state, [are] inadmissible,” said Putin, according to a Reuters report.

However, Putin conceded that Russia would not rule out backing a U.N. resolution if solid evidence confirmed that Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons against its citizens.

(MORE: Diplomacy with Iran Key to Ending Syria War)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also challenged the assertion that the U.S. government has the authority to unilaterally intervene in Syria.

“The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such action,” said Ban, according to Reuters. “That is a firm principle of the United Nations.”

Over the weekend, Obama stated that he was prepared to carry out possible strikes against the Assad regime without the Security Council’s approval. Such approval would necessitate votes from council members China and Russia, both of whom have vocally opposed a strike.

In Paris, both the Senate and the National Assembly will hold debates on Wednesday over the Syrian crisis; however, no voting has been scheduled. France’s President François Hollande has been among the staunchest supporters of military retaliation against Assad’s government, but the leader has said his forces will not act alone.

Tensions meanwhile ran high in the Middle East on Tuesday as American and Israeli forces conducted a missile defense test over the Mediterranean that resulted in the issuance of a military alert from Moscow. According to an article published in the U.K.-based Independent newspaper, an Israeli official confirmed that with American support “it had fired an unarmed ‘decoy missile’ over the sea to test its Arrow 3 missile defence system.”

(MORE: Syria’s Assad Regime Prepares for an American Assault)

On Tuesday, Assad’s staunchest ally Iran continued to sling warnings at the West and Israel. In a report published by Iran’s Fars News Agency on Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei warned against military intervention saying that “starting this fire will be like a spark in a large store of gunpowder, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences,” while a leading member of the country’s parliament said a strike against Syria would effectively undermine Israeli security.

“The first loser of this crisis will be the Zionist regime,” said the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi. “We hope that as the U.S. President has avoided a hasty move on Syria, the U.S. Congress will also act logically in this regard.”

President Obama is set to arrive in Sweden today, where officials earlier this week pledged to approve all asylum applications from Syrian refugees. Later in the week, Obama will head to Russia for a G-20 meeting, where he is scheduled to hold formal meetings with French and Chinese envoys.

WATCH:  U.N.’s Syria Envoy Against U.S.-Led Military Intervention in Syria

151 comments
Himanshu Bais
Himanshu Bais

USA think he is do anything n anywhere. he is a super Villian

Anabel Justiana
Anabel Justiana

I don´t live in America...but I feel slow not a big difference between democrat and republican...Are Obama for or against the war (general, no special countries)?

BradMarston
BradMarston

@toddtalk It was a bold stand by Obama given that he was a State Senator from Chicago.

BFR9
BFR9

@toddtalk Obama in the mid east = guy on the Ed Sullivan show who would run around the stage trying to keep the plates spinning on sticks.

SFozard
SFozard

@TIME @TIMEWorld legality smegality. What is the WORLD gonna do if US acts unilaterally? Nothing!

Tania Letizia Gobbett
Tania Letizia Gobbett

better workout the zones and boundaries and work on the free to liberate: make a long period peace pact

Mohammad Shafiq Khan
Mohammad Shafiq Khan

Watch what America is doing with Muslims of the world. Leaked Documents: U.S. Framed Syria in Chemical Weapons Attack Watch what. http://www.ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.com/page/24370.html Now see the rationality of America & United Nations. The monk responsible for killing of Muslims in Myanmar is free and is openly campaigning for genocide of Muslims. Muslims have no police protection in Myanmar and Myanmar government is just not answerable to international community according to America & United Nations. Read & see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23846632 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23874521 But America is free to attack Syria against international laws as no self defense is involved or authorization of United Nations is needed.

Arcadio Rocha
Arcadio Rocha

Of course he has the authority. Should he ? Thats another question altogether.

Gavin Ezra Goh
Gavin Ezra Goh

It's much more than a question. He just doesn't have the authority.

Bill Kawakami
Bill Kawakami

Occupy the Military-Industrial Complex! Take your protests to the root of the problem.

ongafrac
ongafrac

written for brevity. . . .nothing we, they and any other persons do, say demand and or predict will change anything these Muslims do to each other or anyone else, these Muslims will do exactly what is written in the Qur~an and will exact the retaliation as described in the holy book, the Sunni's and the Shiites believe each the other are correct and in the true teachings in the holy book, sharia law prevails in all situation past present and future, jihad rules found in the holy book will slow down,speed up and stop or broaden the scale, again, NO NON-MUSLIM ACTION WILL CHANGE THIS CONFLICT, NOTHING, AND NO ONE, EVER this is an Islamic thing, beginning, middle and end. . . .who ever we hurt the most will hate us the most and will retaliate. . . . .we have been fools for 1350+ years.

Dee Depierre
Dee Depierre

No. Just stop. Let the UN bear he weight of that decision, not the people of the US.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

WRITTEN IN CAPS FOR THE BENEFIT OF SENIORS - I CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE

JUDGE OBAMA.....THE SECRET MOSLEM IN HIS HEART OF HEARTS......BY HIS ACTIONS.....BY HIS ACTIONS

#1.    OBAMA MET WITH THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD RADICALS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

#1.    OBAMA, THE MOSLEM, PUTS MOSLEM RADICALS IN THE HOMELAND DEFENSE POSITIONS......TO SPY ON US

#1.   OBAMA , THE MOSLEM ALLOWS, THE IRANIAN REGIME, THE ROVOLUTIONARY GUARDS ....TO SHOOT AND KILL THE PRO DEMOCRACY DEMONSTRATORS......ALLOWS THEM TO BEIMPRISONED.....RAPED.....AND TORTURED.

THIS WAS THE TRUE IRANIAN SPRING .....FOR DEMOCRACY.....NOT THE ONE IN EGYPT.3

#`1.  OBAMA....BACKS THE MOSLEM BROTHEROOD IN EGYPT.......THROWING OUR ALLY....HOSNI MUBHARAK..... UNDER THE BUS.....HOW CAN ONE RELY ON UNITED STATES INTEGRITY.....

   NOTE:  IT WAS THE MOSLEM BEOTHERHOOD WHO GUNNED DOWN EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT ANWAR SADAT

                 AS HE REVIEWED THE TROOPS....MUBHARAK WAS WITH HIM......THAT IS WHY ....MUBHARAK OUTLLAWED T                       HE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD.

#1.   OBAMA, OVERTHROWS, OUR COOPERATIVE NEW ALLY, MOAMAR KHADAFFY.....AND BACKS AL QUEDA AND OTHER RADICALS IN LIBYA......WHO EVENTUALLY KILL OUR AMBASSADOR....... SODOMIZING HIM FIRST...DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?.....THEN KILL THE NAVY SEALS AND THEN OUR PERSONNEL.

#1.  OBAMA NOW.....WANTS TO BACK AL QUEDA IN SYRIA WITH ARMS AND OVERTHROW ASSAD.....BAD AS ASSAD IS.....ASSAD...... IS THE LAST PROTECTOR OF THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA......WHILE THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD IS KILLING THE COPTIC CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT........AND THE CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ ARE BEING MASSACRED AS WELL.

SO.....WHY IS OBAMA BACKING EVERY ENEMY RADICAL MOSLEM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES? ND AGAINST CHRISTIANITY....AND AGAINST CHRISTIANITY?

BECAUSE.....IN THE BOOK THAT OBAMA WROTE..."DREAMS FROM MY FATHER"......OBAMA HATES THE COLONIAL POWERS......ENGLAND, FRANCE, THE UNITED STATES ETC.......AND ONLY AL QUEDA , THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD AND MOSLEM RADICALS .......ARE FIGHTING AND KILLING THE COLONIALS.

OBAMA, THE MOSLEM PRESIDENT,.....IS ON THE SIDE OF AL QUEDA, THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD, THE MOSLEM RADICALS,,,,,,THOSE WHO CAN DESTROY AND HUMBLE THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER COLONIALS.

OBAMA WANTS TO SEE THE UNITED STATES TO EAT DIRT AND BE HUMBLED TO THE GROUND.

AND THE AMERICAN CITIZENS ELECTED A MAN....WHO IN HIS HEARTS OF HEARTS WANTS THEIR OBLITERATION AND DEMISE.

DO YOU GET IT?.......OR ARE YOU TOO STUPID TO GET IT.....


VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, MILITARY HISTORIAN, POLITICAL HISTORIAN...COMEDIAN....LOL







David Harvy
David Harvy

The actions of the USA are not in accordance with the Charter of the UN.

David Fadul
David Fadul

I'm glad you know how to rhyme. I think you'll be a lot more interested if North Korea and Iran obtain chemical weapons and use them. Since nobody has done anything to punish the this chemical attack what's to stop North Korea and Iran from using them?

Larry Dahlberg
Larry Dahlberg

You are correct, but it would be UN and not only USA involved. Also I believe that UN would not get enough votes for a srike on Syria. Remember The Korean war was UN conflict and USA and other countries were in the conflict and still has not been resolved to this day.

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

Actually, shouldn't this go before the International War Crimes Court? The UN really has little to say one way or the other.

Paul Todd
Paul Todd

I've yet to see any compelling evidence that the Assad regime was responsible for this chemical attack. Some intercepted communications between Hamas according to German intelligence sources, but no concrete proof.

Rob Deane
Rob Deane

Please don't say stupid Americans. Most of us are against what our government does. It will be civil war here soon if they don't listen.

Briana Way
Briana Way

If the UN supports such an attack, American troops or resources will still be used... The UN does not employ an army.

Urb
Urb

Our leaders are leading Americans down a path we don't want to follow. Congress, Senate, White House. What will it take for our leaders to listen to the will of the people? We don't have a dog in this fight, regardless of mounting evidence, we need WORLD to stand against Assad, not just USA and France.

Norrie McTavish
Norrie McTavish

They should declare war on Detroit. Destroy it. Then send aid to rebuild it. Is that not the usual pattern of war.

Briana Way
Briana Way

It hasn't, there have been several motions brought to the security counsel asking for action from the UN towards Syria but each was stopped when Russia and China vetoed the motion.

Ahu
Ahu

Obama is a warmonger. Why is he so determined to pull the US into another hopeless conflict in the Middle-East?

(I've been waiting 6 years to say that. Full-circle you Bush bashing democrats)

Junaid Akbar Sandhu
Junaid Akbar Sandhu

Barack Obama is running out of toilet paper nowadays and thats why he is going to invade Syria & sooner or latter the situation will become more worst than ever before.

Junaid Akbar Sandhu
Junaid Akbar Sandhu

Many dirty and evil brains under the single roof. May God drones them.

almonjer
almonjer

THE JUDAS POLITICIANS ARE DOING IT TO US AGAIN! DEMOCRACY?! HOW IS THAT CONSIDERING THE PEOPLE TOTALLY OPPOSE THIS CHARADE AND THESE FACTS CONVENIENTLY NOT MENTIONED BY THE MEDIA:
3) Lavon Affair
2) Let me get this straight, American politicians are sending American troops to fight against the people fighting Al Qaeda, who we say are the worst and largest threat to America, and who the politicians have used to turn American society into the new Middle East with stripping away our freedoms? Can you say "1984"-Iran has 40,000 agents in North America (most in America and Canada-but also Mexico and the Caribbean and all over South America) that will respond against the AMERICAN PEOPLE with Boston Marathon and Oklahoma City like bombings. HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT AMERICA OR AMERICANS AS WE LOSE MORE OF WESTERN CULTURE AND A WESTERN LIFESTYLE?
1) Remember Colin Powell and Bush making the exact SAME statements on Iraq and the WMD and how Sadaam Hussein was involved in 911, and the Canadians let the 911 hijackers into the US-ALL BALL FACE LIES KNOWN BY THE PEOPLE THAT UTTERED THE STATEMENTS AND THE MEDIA. IF WE FALL FOR THIS AGAIN WE DESERVE POINT #2

Michael Maloney
Michael Maloney

A war that his children don't have to fight in.But are children do

Noman Khan
Noman Khan

US should mind their own business.they should focus on their problems first.taxpayers money for development not for war and destruction

Pamela Saad
Pamela Saad

So the answer is to kill more syrians, dont let them do it themselves!!!

anti-government
anti-government

We Americans have the same questions about President Obama's legal authority to authorize bombing or invading Syria.

We have bombed and invaded more countries since World War II than any other country. We are the world's greatest purveyors of weapons of death (guns, bombs, missiles, warplanes, etc.) and the world's greatest killers of babies. Our bombs have killed more civilians than the bombs of every other country and "terrorist" group in world history COMBINED.

Peace is Patriotic

Stop trying to run the world.

Bring the troops home

Rebuild America

j45ashton
j45ashton

There's nothing binding about UN pronouncements.  Israel has been ignoring much of what the UN says for years.  Putin's head is lodged in the KGB and memories of the good old cold war days.  Russia needs to move on beyond Putin.  These UN guys...they've had little to say publicly about the chemical attack on innocent civilians other than the pro forma 'it's deplorable'.  But they crawl out of the woodwork to complain about the US punishing Assad.  Every other day the UN leaders give the world more reasons to think that the UN is basically irrelevant.

Louise Noyb
Louise Noyb

So the Constitution allows USA to start a war unprovoked?

Kimberly Harding
Kimberly Harding

SO we have INTERNATIONAL LAW that states NO COUNTRY is allowed to use chemical warfare- Syria DOES it, and we should do NOTHING? You people are annoying!

Kimberly Harding
Kimberly Harding

we actually DO have the right...so maybe you should read the constitution!

Wanda M Dermody
Wanda M Dermody

i believe iraq was vetoed by a permanent member of the un so does anyone doubt they will do it anyway

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@Ahu So you admit to being a total Obama hating phony. Wow, truth in advertising.