Why Obama must persuade Congress that Syria cannot be ignored

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Press release: 9 September 2013

Failure to persuade the US Congress of the need for military action against the Assad regime could prove disastrous for the people of Syria, lead to the normalisation of weapons of mass destruction use worldwide and irretrievably harm the US’s international reputation, The Henry Jackson Society has warned.

Not only is the use of chemical weapons acknowledged as a global ‘red line’ which cannot be allowed to go unchecked, the credibility of the United States in the Middle East, which would be seriously damaged by inaction, must also be of paramount concern to Congress.

The HJS, an international affairs think tank that seeks to promote liberal democracy and new understanding of human rights around the world, has consistently argued for intervention in Syria and believes that the US must now act on the overwhelming evidence of a chemical attack by regime forces on August 21st, which is believed to have killed more than 1,400 Syrians.

The Society has argued that failure to act on proven use of chemical weapons would lead to a proliferation in WMD attacks as others seek to test the resolve of the international community and give a signal to other regimes that international human rights norms can be breached with impunity.

Executive Director of the HJS Dr Alan Mendoza, said: “President Obama has asked the US Congress to help him define what kind of country America wants to be in the second decade of the 21st century.

“Tired though it may be of conflict, is the US prepared to accept rogue states running amok using weapons of mass destruction, knowing that this issue doesn’t just affect Syria but also Iran, North Korea and terrorist organisations like Hezbollah and al-Qaeda? Or will it once again prove to be the bastion of freedom and security in the world that is exemplified by the notion of American Exceptionalism?

“This vote is about more than one use of chemical weapons, one time. It is about the future of the free world, the values we believe to be universal, and whether we will stand by idly while terrible atrocities take place.”

The Henry Jackson Society, which is headquartered in London with representatives in Washington and New York, has produced a significant number of publications on the Syrian crisis. Examples are available here.

 

HJS



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