Sunday 1 September 2013

Why are the Americans seeming to back away from bombing Syria?

President Obama has decided not to attack Syria without first seeking the approval of both Houses of Congress for the act. Congress does not convene until the 9th September, and he doesn't need their authority, anyway, as under the War Powers Act he can launch any attack he wants for 60 days. In fact, if Congress says nothing, he can carry on killing at will beyond the 60 days. All presidents have done that so why has Obama decided to hand the matter over to Congress?

Is it possible that Russia has drawn a line in the sand and has warned America that they will not allow their Syrian ally to be destroyed? I don't have any evidence for that, but since we went to war in 2003 on the basis of a student thesis, sexed up with some old tosh that Tony Blair pulled out of his arsehole, evidence doesn't seem to be needed in these post-modern times.

Seriously, the Senate will probably vote next week on this matter, but the House is unlikely to schedule it until the week after, at least. A joint resolution, which is what Obama is after, carries the weight of law once the president has signed it, and obviously it needs to support of both Houses of Congress.

What we have here is a grand old Duke of York situation where the army has been marched up to the top of the hill and then marched all the way down again. There has to be a reason for that and the most logical one is that Russia has quietly put the frighteners on. If that is the case, then the vote will be lost and the crisis has passed.

By the way, the French are now demanding that their National Assembly be allowed to vote on any attack, so even if I am wrong about the reasons for the Congress being allowed to vote, there is still a good chance that America will have to bomb alone.

All good stuff!

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