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Few support Syria strike

China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-02 09:45

With US President Barack Obama seeking approval for a military strike against Syria from the US Congress, global concerns that the United States would launch immediate military action against the Middle East country have been temporarily relieved.

On Saturday, Obama said he would seek a vote from lawmakers, who will return to session on Sept 9 after a summer break, before acting.

For Obama, the decision to pass the ball to Congress is a wise one. If Congress votes for military action, he will be better positioned to head off opposition at home; if Congress votes against it, he won't be blamed for not keeping his words.

But with support for military action against the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons sliding both at home and abroad in recent days, it would not come as a surprise if Obama soon found himself alone in trumpeting military strike.

Opinion polls in the US have consistently put those in support of military strikes in the minority, and Obama has little support among the international community.

In the United Nations, Washington is unlikely to get a Security Council authorization for the use of force as Russia and China have repeatedly said they support a political resolution to the crisis. Russia has publicly doubted the validity of the argument presented by the US side, and it is demanding that Washington provide evidence for its claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

Among its allies, only France and Turkey are willing to go along with the US. Its traditional allies, such as Britain, Canada and Germany, have decided to sit out any military action. NATO has also ruled out the possibility of participating, and the Arab League is unwilling to publicly endorse any military moves, let alone participate.

The international reluctance to follow the US' lead is not unfounded, given the intelligence Washington used to justify its invasion of Iraq. And given the importance of the Middle East to the global energy supply, the rest of the world has good reasons to ask what if Syria plunges even deeper into a civil war after military intervention?

Obviously, US lawmakers should take all these concerns into consideration when they vote to decide on the fate of Syria.

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