White House - President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisers in the White House Situation Room on Saturday to discuss strategy in Syria. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is fourth from right.
A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.
Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said. Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a thug and a murderer" and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.
NBC's Chuck Todd describes the political process for seeking congressional authorization for a strike on Syria, and says that the president's decision to wait on Congress is a departure from 30 years of strengthening executive branch power.
Returning from that walk, the president called his advisers in the early evening to inform them of his new decision.
The plan was immediately met with robust resistance from a whiplashed Obama team who had listened to Kerry lay out the administration's strongest case yet for action against Assad. "My friends, it matters here if nothing is done," Kerry had argued. "It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens."
Obama's National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that “consultation” in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.
Officials said that after the president met with national security advisers on Aug. 24, they determined the evidence showed Syria’s Assad regime had used chemical weapons in an attack earlier this month. At that time, the president indicated he was leaning toward a strike.
But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administration’s strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action.
Officials said Obama also was influenced by Thursday’s lively debate in the House of Commons, where Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in Parliament to authorize participation in an allied strike against Syria. Cameron had been a staunch advocate of military action but was chastened in the wake of the vote. “It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action,” Cameron said. “I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”
While Obama's advisers argued Friday night in private that the humiliating defeat for Cameron starkly illustrated the risks of asking for congressional input, the president responded that the vote in Parliament demonstrated exactly why he should seek a vote on this side of the Atlantic, senior officials told NBC News.
And, the president insisted, seeking legislative backing was the approach most consistent with his philosophy. While debate within the administration continued into late Friday, by Saturday morning the senior advisers acquiesced.
Speaking to the nation early Saturday afternoon, Obama said he was “mindful that I'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted
AskMarion: On Friday, 08.30.13, Russia restructured Cyprus’ Debt; Cyprus Prohibits US strikes on Syria and this comes after Putin called for a meeting of the UN Security Council after France, Great Britain, Germany and most everyone else told Obama and the U.S. that they would not support us in the Syrian offensive. But in Obamaland: When All Else Fails… Spin – Obama Now Seeking Congressional Approval on Syria
Zero Hedge: Yesterday afternoon, Russia agreed to restructure Cyprus’ EUR 2.5 billion loan terms to a much more affordable 2.5% semi-annual coupon through 2016 and a principal re-payment over the following four years. While probably still out of reach for the desperate economy, it was a positive step. Of course, this ‘offer’ by Russia has its quid pro quo. This morning, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has stated that Cyprus territory will not be used to launch military strikes against Syria, as "Cyprus wants to live up to its responsibility as a shelter if needed for nationals of friendly countries who evacuate from Middle East". It would appear Obama’s influence is fading everywhere…
Cyprus is located ~183 nautical miles west of Syria and is the EU member nearest to Syria.
Russia restructures Cyprus loan (via ITAR-TASS – ):
The Russian government has endorsed restructuring of the terms of the Russian loan to Cyprus, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told reporters Friday.
“The restructuring was endorsed at the last meeting of the Cabinet,” he said
Cyprus is to repay a EUR 2.5bn loan to Russia in eight semiannual installments starting in 2016, Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak told reporters today, citing a revision of repayment terms approved at the latest cabinet meeting. The interest rate was lowered to 2.5% from 4.5%.
Russia extended the loan in 2011 for 4.5 years.
Cyprus UK Bases (via Bloomberg)
The U.K. has 2 sovereign bases on Cyprus; and despite its vote against a strike, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said today 6 RAF Typhoon interceptor fast jets deploying to British base at Akrotiri in Cyprus as precautionary measure "to protect British bases on island"
Cyprus Refugee Camp (via Bloomberg)
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides says his country is prepared for any influx of foreign nationals in the event of military action against Syria, in comments to reporters in Nicosia today. Cyprus can accept up to 10,000 people daily on basis they remain for 48 hours before repatriation (Cyprus received more than 40,000 evacuees from Lebanon after 2 weeks fighting between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters in 2006).
Cyprus Refuses To Allow Strikes From Its Territory against Syria (via Bloomberg)
Cyprus assured its territory won’t be used to launch military strikes against Syria, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said, according to a transcript of his comments posted on govt’s press-office website
Kasoulides commented that "Cyprus wants to live up to its responsibility as a shelter if needed for nationals of friendly countries who evacuate from Middle East"
So, it would appear there is the ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’… what next? US offers to build Cyprus casinos, Google ‘Glass’ for everyone, and the rights to "American Idol" for free?
And what comes next? A brand spanking new Russian naval base in the heart of the Mediterranean…
Some have commented that Obama is completely out of his league and lacks the ability to form coalitions.
Obama comes from a community organizer mentality of the hard left. The strategy in community organizing is to bully, intimidate, bluff, and humiliate the opposition into caving. There is no strategy for building coalitions, relationships, or win-win outcomes. During Obama’s years as a community organizer, things were pretty mush a cake walk. It wasn’t like in the early civil rights days when civil rights activists could be killed. By the time Obama was a community organizer, whites were pretty much caving in on anything, and more often than not, any conflict wasn’t even genuine, because both sides were from the Left. How much conflict is there in deciding between the democrat government, democrat unions, and democrat community organizers on how to distribute other people’s money?
As president, for the first time, he and his team, fresh from their graduate schools, are having to negotiate with people who are working in the best interest of their own peoples. And things are not going well for Obama, because real politics is not going like their term papers said it would, and they are not caving in like Obama’s only previous experience.
Now we see how out of his league Obama really is.
Others would say… this was the plan the whole time. Obama is the puppet placed in power by the progressives, the ruling global elite, and destroying America and moving the world to a new order with one central government was always the plan. And having done such a great job programming the average American, they knew if a black person was put into office, nobody would have the courage to speak out! Game over…
Earlier in the week, former U.S. United Nations’ Ambassador John Bolton appeared with Great Van Susteren on On the Record saying he hopes the world will realize that Obama does not represent the majority of the United States and that we, the United States, along with the rest of the world, is on a little over a 1200 day count-down until we get a new competent president.
This situation with Syria is just one example of how the mainstream media… ABC, CBS, PBS and especially NBC and MSNBC spin the news when the White House calls. If you really want to understand what is going on on any issue you need to watch some news from another perspective like Fox or TheBlazeTV as well, listen to some talk radio and do some independent research online; read a few books on history, current events and politics when you can, talk to a few people on both sides of the issue if you are not sure and use your common sense. Remember, God gave us common sense for a reason… If it sounds odd or sounds too good, it probably is!!