Scant foreign support for US strikes on Syria

President Obama is poised to become the first U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without mustering broad international support or acting in direct defense of Americans.
Associated Press
Aug 30, 2013


Not since 1983, when President Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada, has the U.S. been so alone in pursing major lethal military action beyond a few attacks responding to strikes or threats against its citizens.

It's a policy turnabout for President Barack Obama, a Democrat who took office promising to limit U.S. military intervention and, as a candidate, said the president "does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

But over the last year Obama has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that his government's use of chemical weapons in its two-year civil war would be a "red line" that would provoke a strong U.S. response.

So far, only France has indicated it would join a U.S. strike on Syria.

Without widespread backing from allies, "the nature of the threat to the American national security has to be very, very clear," said retired Army Brig. Gen. Charles Brower, an international studies professor at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.

"It's the urgency of that threat that would justify the exploitation of that power as commander in chief — you have to make a very, very strong case for the clear and gathering danger argument to be able to go so aggressively," Brower said Friday.

Obama is expected to launch what officials have described as a limited strike — probably with Tomahawk cruise missiles — against Assad's forces.

Two days after the suspected chemicals weapons attack in Damascus suburbs, Obama told CNN, "If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it; do we have the coalition to make it work?" He said: "Those are considerations that we have to take into account."

Lawmakers briefed on the plans have indicated an attack is all but certain. And Obama advisers said the president was prepared to strike unilaterally, though France has said it is ready to commit forces to an operation in Syria because the use of chemical weapons cannot go unpunished.

The U.S. does not have United Nations support to strike Syria, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged restraint. "Diplomacy should be given a chance and peace given a chance," he said Thursday.

Expected support from Britain, a key ally, evaporated as Parliament rejected a vote Thursday endorsing military action in Syria. And diplomats with the 22-nation Arab League said the organization does not support military action without U.N. consent, an action that Russia would almost certainly block. The diplomats spoke anonymously because of rules preventing them from being identified.

"Presidents always need to be prepared to go at it alone," said Rudy deLeon, who was a senior Defense Department official in the Clinton administration.

"The uninhibited use of the chemical weapons is out there, and that's a real problem," said deLeon, now senior vice president of security and international policy at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress in Washington. "It can't be ignored, and it certainly creates a dilemma. I think (Obama) had to make the red-line comment, and so Syria has acted in a very irresponsible way."

The nearly nine-year war in Iraq that began in 2003, which Obama termed "dumb" because it was based on false intelligence, has encouraged global skittishness about Western military intervention in the Mideast. "There's no doubt that the intelligence on Iraq is still on everybody's mind," deLeon said.

Both Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton had U.N. approval for nearly all of their attacks on Iraq years earlier. Even in the 2003 invasion, which was ordered by Republican George W. Bush, 48 nations supported the military campaign as a so-called coalition of the willing. Four nations — the U.S., Britain, Australia and Poland — participated in the invasion.

The U.S. has relied on NATO at least three times to give it broad foreign support for military missions: in bombarding Bosnia in 1994 and 1995, attacking Kosovo with airstrikes in 1999 and invading Afghanistan in 2001.

Only a few times has the U.S. acted unilaterally — and only then to respond to attacks or direct threats against Americans.

In 1986, Reagan joined ordered airstrikes on Libya to punish then-leader Moammar Gadhafi for the bombing of a Berlin dance club that killed two U.S soldiers and wounded 79 other Americans.

Three years later, George H.W. Bush invaded Panama after dictator Manuel Noriega declared war on the U.S. when his drug-trafficking regime was slapped with crippling American sanctions. The invasion began four days after a U.S. Marine was killed in a shooting in Panama City.

Clinton ordered a missile strike against Iraq in 1993 as payback for an assassination against the elder Bush. And in 1998, Clinton attacked al-Qaida bases in Sudan and Afghanistan to retaliate against U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people.

Obama approved the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, who had been considered a threat potentially going back to the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. troops living there. Additionally, the U.S. has launched hundreds of deadly drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida havens, mostly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen during the presidencies of Obama and George W. Bush.

All other major U.S. military attacks since the 1983 Grenada invasion have been sanctioned by the United Nations. That includes the 2011 missile strikes that Obama ordered against Libya as part of a coalition to protect that nation's citizens by enforcing a no-fly zone against Gadhafi forces.

Even the Grenada invasion had some international support. Six Caribbean island countries asked for U.S. intervention, which the Reagan administration said was legal under the charter of the Organization of American States. But the invasion was roundly criticized by Britain, Canada and the U.N.

Making the case Friday for the strikes, Secretary of State John Kerry noted that Turkey, France and Australia have condemned the suspected chemical attacks and said "we are not alone in our will to do something about it and to act."

"As previous storms in history have gathered, when unspeakable crimes were within our power to stop them, we have been warned against the temptations of looking the other way," Kerry said. "History is full of leaders who have warned against inaction, indifference and especially against silence when it mattered most."

He added: "It matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens."

Some lawmakers in Obama's party hedged in supporting an attack with little foreign backup.

"The impact of such a strike would be weakened if it does not have the participation and support of a large number of nations, including Arab nations," Senate Armed Services chairman Carl Levin, a Democrat, said Friday.


JudgeMeNot's picture

Another Obama war. He will top both Bush's total.


Not sure what you mean. We haven't seen Obama's first war... That Afghanistan and Iraq bottomless pit were started by Bush/Cheney; sorry you didn't hear the news...


Actually coaster I think Afghanistan should go to your messiah as he said over 5 years ago he would be pulling out.


This actually all started long before Bush and Obama. Sometime around the 1950's is when our foreign policy of meddling in the Middle East began.


Re: "We haven't seen Obama's first war..."

For libs with short memories:

Libya, Somalia, Mali.

Bonus: New Marine base in Australia.


Awww, Obozo has no support in the world community, looks like a reflection of his national support!!!! Praise be to Allah for he still has the Kool-Aid drinkers!!!!


One can certainly see why Great Britain wouldn't sign on, after they fell for Bush's WMD ploy... As for the KoolAid drinkers, they watch Fox, so they aren't privy to real news.


^^This coming from someone who gets the news from the likes of Rachel Madcow.


We know you hate gays GI Joe. Just say it!


Some of you REALLY need to turn the channel.

Stop It

I'm serious. We need to stop meddlin' in Mid-Eastern affairs. If they want to stone each other, gas each other, chop each others heads off, I DON'T CARE. Let them. It's already been proven we don't have a dog in this race. LEAVE IT BE!


I agree. Let some other country take over the role of International Police Force for a change.


Re: "Let some other country take over the role of International Police Force for a change."

Who would you suggest? Iran, China, Russia?


I'm still wondering why ANY country should play the role of "International Police Force!" Sure, if things extend beyond a country's borders and the country into which they cross needs help, that's another story. But relatively localized warfare isn't going to be solved by the intervention of foreigners who often don't have a good grasp of the underpinnings of such conflicts in the first place.

There is, as always, an argument to be made for humanitarian reasons. But again, interference with a legal government can't be taken lightly and it SHOULDN'T be taken lightly. Strictly speaking, there are a HOST of places in which we should intervene if our criteria is humanitarian. It isn't, and we're not. Again I ask: Why is Syria any different?




I agree

red white and blue

I couldn't agree more stop it


Obama the Nobel Peace Prize winner?
"Note: The Washington Post changed the AP story entirely. Here is the original version posted on another site."
Obama readies for Syrian strikes in shadow of Iraq War

Alan Grayson On Syria Strike: 'Nobody Wants This Except The Military-Industrial Complex'

The rich ruling class wants more money. They don't care about young Americans going off to war as cannon fodder.

Raytheon Co. (RTN)

"Hope and change" for the rich ruling class? Obama fooled all of you.

The Big Dog's back

Stay out of Syria.


^^The most common sense comment I've seen you post in quite some time.

Darwin's choice

Obama, "stay out of Syria"

fixed it for you......


Re: "Stay out of Syria."

You don't support Dear Leader????

"Raytheon 2011 On the Record With Tom Culligan military industrial complex"

" Eisenhower originally called it the Military-Industrial-Congress Complex (MICC), but abbreviated the term. Canny weapons manufacturers have assembled sub-contractors in every state, e.g. the F-22 had a thousand of them in 42 states, the F-35 has 1300 suppliers in 45 states. Supporters now even advertise their weapons programs as a jobs program. (Just imagine if all those smart workers were rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure instead). On any war or bombing issue most establishment Republicans and Democrats vote in favor. Witness how most long term Republicans supported attacking Serbia, while most Freshman/Sophomore Republicans voted in opposition."

Stop It

Every time the USA gets involved in these so called "police actions", we end up destroying something to save it. WTF is up with that?

And then, we have more people hating us than before. It makes no sense.


Yes, but what we destroy most is the nations wallet. The terrorists in the middle east have us right where they want us. As long as we keep throwing money at a war we can't win, that seemingly has no end, we slowly work our way to financial collapse.


Afghan + Ron Reagan/Charlie Wilson. Know your past.


Different time, different threat. Know your past.


Operation Cyclone began under Pres. Carter.

2cents's picture

In my email this morning : )



From a total of 44 US Presidents: Obama rated 5th best president ever.

The Democratic publicity release said,"...after a little more than 5 years, Americans have rated President Obama the 5th best president ever." The details according to White House Publicists:

Reagan & Lincoln tied for first,
23 presidents tied for second,
17 other presidents tied for third,
Jimmy Carter came in 4th, and
Obama came in fifth.


What is your e-mail's website ?


Again **** get it right. Raygun & Wilson are dead. We are still paying for the Afghan mess.

red white and blue

Funny no one asked me to vote on that poll is there a place behind last if so that's where my vote for him goes


It's not ALL Obama , Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are pushing for involvement with Syria too.


I agree 4shizzle, the war drums are beating and both parties want in, but we the American public want now part of it. It is time for all of us to wake up, both parties bow the the Military Industrial Complex.


You may be right about those in both parties beating war drums, but you can't count McCain and Graham as representative of a different persuasion than the Democrat Party. They may serve with an R after their names, but they've both become more progressive than not. I don't know about Graham, but it's a crying shame about McCain. There was a time when he was actually a pretty smart and reasonably rational guy...

The Big Dog's back

McCain and Graham Progressive?? More delusional drivel from you sham.


Really? Then why are both supporting immigration "reform" (read "amnesty") as opposed to REAL "reform" (read "border security" and "enforcement")? Why are both generally on record as voting for the status quo instead of reform? Whether you agree with the conservative agenda or not, don't pretend that Graham and McCain (and too many other RINOs) adhere to it!

The Big Dog's back

They are Repubs, just not the right wing, over the cliff right wingnut you are.

Darwin's choice

So, Obama has been supporting the rebels, and now, there is proven evidence that the gas "attack" was the result of an accident by those same rebels!! Seems Obama and Kerry are backing the wrong horse again! Almost like that "fast and furious" farce he's responsible for. How about it Coasterfan, 4shizzle, Big Dog, Deertracker? Another Obama FAIL!


I do believe that the people of both parties are growing tired of their leaders' war-mongering ways. That's a good turn in the right direction. Now let's hope that they'll start working together again, and learn the definition of compromise.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Please and thank you.


I just want the U.S., and the world, to learn to work together. I need my space colonies and intergalactic fight! It won't be possible unless we all are working towards it with each other. It's a greedy, but awesome, reason to want world peace.

Darwin's choice

Obama followers......

be for real

We dont need to be in another war.There is no money for this.Enough is enough let someone else pay for it and keep our money here.We cannot police every nation,none of the ones america has helped would help us if it were to change around


War Pigs.....


Saddam gassed Iraqi Kurds in 1988.

Using similar foreign interventionist criteria that Pres. Obama is using, should Pres. Reagan have taken military action against Iraq?

For all you dumbed-down libs: Samantha Power is YOUR Dick Cheney.

The Big Dog's back

raygun supplied Saddam with the gas moroon.


Re: "raygun supplied Saddam with the gas moroon."

Other than your mental illness, what's your source putz?

The Big Dog's back

You write that the Daily Mail lies and then you use them as a source?

You're mentally ill putz.


If that's true about Dog, then you've done the same thing about Huffington Post.

You've got mental problems anyway , that's why you're an alcoholic.


It was an 11 year old article that has been reprinted. If there was anything there it would have been followed up on. It went nowhere then, it has been brought up every so often since. It has never gone anywhere... other than on left winger publications and blogs. No matter who controlled congress or the presidency, even the gov't waccos did nothing.

The Big Dog's back

An 11 year old article????? Did they have ESP? These documents were just released wacco.


"An 11 year old article?????"

Quote from the article you linked to, actually the second paragraph of the article:

As an envoy from President Reagan 19 years ago, he had a secret meeting with the Iraqi dictator and arranged enormous military assistance for his war with Iran.

19 years ago (1994) Billy was the President.


And another quote from the article you linked to:

"At the very least, it is highly embarrassing for 70-year-old Mr Rumsfeld, who is the most powerful and vocal of all the hawks surrounding President Bush."

Donald Rumsfield is currently 81 years old. Can you do simple subtraction? 81-70 =11


Another quote:

"But one thing was clear last night - President Bush will not let the embarrassment prevent him from forging ahead with his plans to attack Baghdad, and if that does happen Mr Blair will have no choice but to join him in the attack."


It is a reprint of an 11 year old article.

The Big Dog's back

What follows is an accurate chronology of United States involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war 1980-88. It is a powerful indictment of the president Bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of his war on terrorism. It reveals US ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.
Arming Iraq and the Path to War
A crisis always has a history, and the current crisis with Iraq is no exception. Below are some relevant dates.

September, 1980. Iraq invades Iran. The beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. [8]

February, 1982. Despite objections from congress, President Reagan removes Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. [1]

December, 1982. Hughes Aircraft ships 60 Defender helicopters to Iraq. [9]

1982-1988. Defense Intelligence Agency provides detailed information for Iraq on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments. [4]

November, 1983. A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran. [1] & [15]

Donald Rumsfeld -Reagan's Envoy- provided Iraq with
chemical & biological weapons November, 1983. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta begin to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq's missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. [14]

October, 1983. The Reagan Administration begins secretly allowing Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to transfer United States weapons, including Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq. These shipments violated the Arms Export Control Act. [16]

November 1983. George Schultz, the Secretary of State, is given intelligence reports showing that Iraqi troops are daily using chemical weapons against the Iranians. [1]

December 20, 1983. Donald Rumsfeld , then a civilian and now Defense Secretary, meets with Saddam Hussein to assure him of US friendship and materials support. [1] & [15]

July, 1984. CIA begins giving Iraq intelligence necessary to calibrate its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. [19]

January 14, 1984. State Department memo acknowledges United States shipment of "dual-use" export hardware and technology. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application. [2]

March, 1986. The United States with Great Britain block all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and on March 21 the US becomes the only country refusing to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq's use of these weapons. [10]

May, 1986. The US Department of Commerce licenses 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. [3]

May, 1986. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. [7]

March, 1987. President Reagan bows to the findings of the Tower Commission admitting the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. Oliver North uses the profits from the sale to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. [17]

Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. [1]

February, 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. [8]

April, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas. [7]

August, 1988. Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis massively and effectively used chemical weapons to defeat the Iranians. Nerve gas and blister agents such as mustard gas are used. By this time the US Defense Intelligence Agency is heavily involved with Saddam Hussein in battle plan assistance, intelligence gathering and post battle debriefing. In the last major battle with of the war, 65,000 Iranians are killed, many with poison gas. Use of chemical weapons in war is in violation of the Geneva accords of 1925. [6] & [13]

August, 1988. Iraq and Iran declare a cease fire. [8]

August, 1988. Five days after the cease fire Saddam Hussein sends his planes and helicopters to northern Iraq to begin massive chemical attacks against the Kurds. [8]

September, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. [7]

September, 1988. Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State: "The US-Iraqi relationship is... important to our long-term political and economic objectives." [15]

December, 1988. Dow chemical sells $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. [1]
- See more at:




From the blog your article above was copied from:

"While every care has been taken in Iran Chamber Society's compilation and numbers have been verified for accuracy, the possibility of errors or mistakes cannot be ruled out and perfect accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we advise users to verify information on their own, as "Iran Chamber Society" cannot be held liable for the errors or incompleteness of the information in the contents on its site.

"Iran Chamber Society" cannot be held liable for the truthfulness, lawfulness and accuracy of information, added links or articles supplied by the organizations, institutions or individuals on the site of "Iran Chamber Society". "

Sounds like a place I would accept their "facts" from. Maybe thats why they cover their rears so well.

Darwin's choice

This all started with the Eisenhower administration, and has been supported by every president since then. Truman opposed a coup in Iran, however, Eisenhower, along with the U.K., helped overthrow the Prime Minister, and installed the Shah. Ever since then, we've been invested heavily in the Middle East, and NO president has allowed us to escape this horrible foreign policy.

Let's see, the U.S. overthrows a democratically elected leader, installs a dictator, gets bit in the butt by that dictator, and then continues this horribly insane policy. Yet we wonder why the Middle East hates us so much. Once we get out, we'll be much, much safer.

One Tin Soldier - Lyrics - Coven

The Trial of Billy Jack - The American Conscience is Dead


Big Dog losing the copy and paste war. Hahahahaha