The World’s Conscience Weighs Syria Attacking It’s Own

syrian-chemical-weapons-map

“Two and a half years into the bloody conflict that has killed over 100,000 Syrians and displaced at least four million, we are well beyond the time for hand-wringing. The international community must act urgently to address the humanitarian crisis by protecting and assisting Syrian refugees, displaced people and other civilians.

The United States alone cannot dictate the outcome in Syria, but it has a crucial role to play in working with the international community to safeguard millions of Syrians, stop the flow of arms that are fueling the conflict and ensure those who violate international law face trial.”

Amnesty International

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Syria: Witnesses Describe Alleged Chemical Attacks
Government Should Give UN Investigators Immediate Access

AUGUST 21, 2013 HumanRightsWatch

(New York) – Witnesses in Eastern and Western Ghouta, outside Damascus, described symptoms and delivery methods consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents during attacks by government forces on August 21, 2013. The attacks killed several hundred people and injured hundreds more.

Seven residents and two doctors who were first responders told Human Rights Watch that hundreds of people, including many children, appeared to have been asphyxiated in the attacks that began in the early hours of August 21. The killing of civilians on a large scale in a single incident raises concerns that serious crimes were committed. The government denied on its state TV channel that it had used chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta, an area largely controlled by the opposition.

“A huge number of people in Ghouta are dead, doctors and witnesses are describing horrific details that look like a chemical weapons attack, and the government claims it didn’t do it,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.” The only way to find out what really happened in Ghouta is to let UN inspectors in.”

For more: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/08/21/syria-witnesses-describe-alleged-chemical-attacks

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National Council of Churches deplores Syrian chemical attack, and urges President Obama to use restraint in military response

Washington, August 30, 2013 NationalCouncilofChurches

As the United States considers a military response to the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria, the National Council of Churches has issued the following statement:

1. In any political dispute, we deplore the use of military solutions. Since its founding in 1950 in the wake of World War II and at the beginning of the Korean War, the NCC has declared its conviction that war is always contrary to the will of God.

2. We particularly deplore the horrendous violence unleashed by both sides in the Syria civil war that has resulted in a dismaying loss of life and property, and has placed severe burdens on the entire region as thousands of refugees seek safety outside the borders of Syria.

3. In particular, we condemn the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria that has killed and maimed thousands of innocent children, women, and men. This senseless, evil act is horrifying, even against the background of the unspeakable carnage each side has already wrought against the other. All who have been responsible for this chemical attack must search their consciences and ask God for forgiveness and for the courage to refuse to participate in future attacks.

4. We welcome the resolve of President Obama and other leaders to stop future chemical attacks against an innocent populace. However, we are deeply skeptical that U.S. military action against Syria will prevent future attacks. Indeed, we fear such action may have consequences beyond U.S. planning and control, including more death and widespread destruction.

5. We acknowledge the courage of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said the United Kingdom will not participate in punitive attacks on Syria because of the clearly stated opposition of the British people and the House of Commons. We call on President Obama to listen carefully to similar debates in the U.S. Congress and among the U.S. public.

6. We urge President Obama to use restraint in deciding upon military solutions, and to renew his efforts to build a political coalition within the United Nations to continue to isolate the Syrian government from the family of nations and place irresistible moral and economic pressure on Syria to refrain from the use of chemical weapons against innocent people.

7. We call on all persons of faith to pray for all leaders who are faced with the terrible decisions of war, including the President of the United States whose clear intention is to protect the innocent.

Source: http://www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us/news/syriaaugust2013.php

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Ambassador Power on Syria at the Center for American Progress
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Mission to the United Nations – New York, N.Y.

2013-09-06

Good afternoon. I’m very glad to be back in Washington this afternoon, and among so many friends here at the Center for American Progress. As you know, my topic today is Syria, which presents one of the most critical foreign policy challenges we face.

Syria is important because it lies at the heart of a region critical to U.S. security, a region that is home to friends and partners and one of our closest allies. It is important because the Syrian regime possesses stores of chemical weapons that they have recently used on a large scale and that we cannot allow to fall into terrorists’ hands.

It is important because the Syrian regime is collaborating with Iran, and works in lockstep with thousands of extremist fighters from Hezbollah. And Syria is important because its people – in seeking freedom and dignity — have suffered unimaginable horror these last two and a half years.

But I also recognize how ambivalent Americans are about the situation there.

On the one hand, we Americans share a desire, after two wars, which have taken 6,700 American lives and cost over $1 trillion dollars, to invest taxpayer dollars in American schools and infrastructure. Yet on the other hand, Americans have heard the President’s commitment that this will not be Iraq, this will not be Afghanistan, this will not be Libya. Any use of force will be limited and tailored narrowly to the chemical weapons threat.

For more: http://www.humanrights.gov/2013/09/06/ambassador-power-on-syria-at-the-center-for-american-progress/

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Senate Intelligence panel posts videos of sarin gas victims

9/07/13 02:10 PM ET By Jeremy Herb – TheHill

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released to the public 13 videos showing victims of last month’s alleged chemical attacks in Syria.

The videos detail what appears to be victims of the chemical attacks convulsing and foaming at the mouth. It includes graphic images of children who were apparently victims of the attack, which the U.S. says was carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and left 1,400 dead.

They also show the dead bodies of adults, children and the elderly lying side by side on the floor. The victims have no signs of blood or other wounds.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/320855-cnn-airs-alleged-videos-of-sarin-gas-victims-in-syria

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Responses to Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

1/12/17 Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on U.S. Sanctions Designations for Syrian Regime Chemical Weapons Use

March 18, 2014
US orders the Syrian government to suspend all of its diplomatic operations in United States

January 22, 2014
International Peace Conference in Geneva, Switzerland

Learn more from the White House on the Assad regime’s treatment of the Syrian people

October 31, 2013
Syria Destroys Chemical Weapon-Making Equipment

October 15-16, 2013
The P5+1 , five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, namely United StatesRussiaChinaUnited Kingdom,France and Germany meet in Geneva to acheive diplomatic agreements with Iran on its nuclear program.

October 7, 2013
UN chief outlines chemical weapons plan for Syria

September 27, 2013
U.N. Security Council Approves Syria Resolution

September 24, 2013
FACT SHEET: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis

September 16, 2013
UN: ‘Convincing evidence’ chemical weapons used in Syria

September 14, 2013
Statement by the President on U.S.-Russian Agreement on Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons

September 12, 2013
Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke to reporters in Geneva

September 11, 2013
UN confirms Syria’s Assad signed chemical weapons decree

September 10, 2013
9:00 PM ET
President Obama Addresses the Nation on Syria

September 10, 2013
Statement on Additional Countries in Support of September 6 Joint Statement on Syria

September 10, 2013
President Obama agrees to U.N. talks on Russia’s Syria plan

September 10, 2013
Readout of the President’s Calls with French President Hollande and British Prime Minister Cameron

September 10, 2013
7:30 AM ET
Syria accepts Russian chemical weapons proposal – per Interfax

September 10, 2013
10:00 AM ET
US House Armed Services Committee – Authorizing Force in Syria – State Secretary Kerry, Defense Secretary Hagel & General Dempsey testify

September 09, 2013
Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Harper of Canada

September 9, 2013
2:50 PM ET
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backs Obama on Syria action

September 9, 2013
1:15 PM ET
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Deputy National Security Adviser briefs the press

September 9, 2013
12:30 PM ET
National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Syria at New America Foundation

September 9, 2013
11:30 AM ET
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Press Conference

September 9, 2013
7:00 AM ET
Secretary of State Kerry on Syria

September 9, 2013
Statement on Additional Countries in Support of September 6 Joint Statement on Syria

September 7, 2013
David Petraeus calls on Congress to back White House on Syria

September 7, 2013
President Obama’s Address: Calling for Limited Military Action in Syria

September 6, 2013
The Leaders and Representatives of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America’s Joint Statement on Syria
Group of 20 Nations Leader’s Meeting,  Saint Petersburg, Russia

September 6, 2013
US Ambassador Power on Syria at the Center for American Progress

September 6, 2013
Madeleine Albright pushes Congress in support of Syria resolution

September 5, 2013
At G20 summit, Ban, UN-Arab League Envoy push for political solution to Syria crisis

September 3, 2013
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton breaks silence to endorse Syria strikes

September 3, 2013
Secretary of Defense Hagel Statement on Syria

September 3, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry Statement on Syria

September 3, 2013
Congressional leaders back Obama on Syria strike

September 3, 2013
President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Services Committee

August 31, 2013
U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons

August 31, 2013
Statement by the President on Syria

August 30, 2013
Readout of the President’s Phone Call with President Hollande of France

August 30, 2013
President Obama Discusses Report on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Use

August 30, 2013
President Obama met with his National Security Council Regarding the Reported Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

August 30, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry Statement on Syria

August 29, 2013
Readout of Briefing for Congressional Leaders on the Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

August 29, 2013
Readout of the President’s Phone Call with Chancellor Merkel

August 28, 2013
NATO Secretary General Statement on North Atlantic Council Meeting on Syria

August 27, 2013
Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg

August 27, 2013
Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Harper of Canada

August 27, 2013
Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Rudd of Australia

August 26, 2013
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Remarks on Syria

August 26, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry Statement on Syria

August 25, 2013
Readout of the President’s Phone Call with President Hollande of France

August 24, 2013
Readout of the President’s Meeting with the National Security Council Regarding the Reported Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

August 24, 2013
Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Cameron of the UK

August 24, 2013
President Obama met with his National Security Council Regarding the Reported Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

August 21, 2013
Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

June 30, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary R Clinton Press Availability Following the Meeting of the Action Group on Syria
Palais de Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

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Tuesday, September 10
9:00 PM ET
President Obama will address the Nation on the Situation in Syria

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63 thoughts on “The World’s Conscience Weighs Syria Attacking It’s Own

  1. WH

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

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  2. The World’s Conscience Weighs Syria’s Attacking It’s Own

    “Two and a half years into the bloody conflict that has killed over 100,000 Syrians and displaced at least four million, we are well beyond the time for hand-wringing. The international community must act urgently to address the humanitarian crisis by protecting and assisting Syrian refugees, displaced people and other civilians.

    The United States alone cannot dictate the outcome in Syria, but it has a crucial role to play in working with the international community to safeguard millions of Syrians, stop the flow of arms that are fueling the conflict and ensure those who violate international law face trial.”

    Amnesty International

    • Syria: Witnesses Describe Alleged Chemical Attacks
      Government Should Give UN Investigators Immediate Access

      AUGUST 21, 2013 HumanRightsWatch

      (New York) – Witnesses in Eastern and Western Ghouta, outside Damascus, described symptoms and delivery methods consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents during attacks by government forces on August 21, 2013. The attacks killed several hundred people and injured hundreds more.

      Seven residents and two doctors who were first responders told Human Rights Watch that hundreds of people, including many children, appeared to have been asphyxiated in the attacks that began in the early hours of August 21. The killing of civilians on a large scale in a single incident raises concerns that serious crimes were committed. The government denied on its state TV channel that it had used chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta, an area largely controlled by the opposition.

      “A huge number of people in Ghouta are dead, doctors and witnesses are describing horrific details that look like a chemical weapons attack, and the government claims it didn’t do it,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.” The only way to find out what really happened in Ghouta is to let UN inspectors in.”

      For more: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/08/21/syria-witnesses-describe-alleged-chemical-attacks

    • National Council of Churches deplores Syrian chemical attack, and urges President Obama to use restraint in military response

      Washington, August 30, 2013 NationalCouncilofChurches

      As the United States considers a military response to the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria, the National Council of Churches has issued the following statement:

      1. In any political dispute, we deplore the use of military solutions. Since its founding in 1950 in the wake of World War II and at the beginning of the Korean War, the NCC has declared its conviction that war is always contrary to the will of God.

      2. We particularly deplore the horrendous violence unleashed by both sides in the Syria civil war that has resulted in a dismaying loss of life and property, and has placed severe burdens on the entire region as thousands of refugees seek safety outside the borders of Syria.

      3. In particular, we condemn the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria that has killed and maimed thousands of innocent children, women, and men. This senseless, evil act is horrifying, even against the background of the unspeakable carnage each side has already wrought against the other. All who have been responsible for this chemical attack must search their consciences and ask God for forgiveness and for the courage to refuse to participate in future attacks.

      4. We welcome the resolve of President Obama and other leaders to stop future chemical attacks against an innocent populace. However, we are deeply skeptical that U.S. military action against Syria will prevent future attacks. Indeed, we fear such action may have consequences beyond U.S. planning and control, including more death and widespread destruction.

      5. We acknowledge the courage of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said the United Kingdom will not participate in punitive attacks on Syria because of the clearly stated opposition of the British people and the House of Commons. We call on President Obama to listen carefully to similar debates in the U.S. Congress and among the U.S. public.

      6. We urge President Obama to use restraint in deciding upon military solutions, and to renew his efforts to build a political coalition within the United Nations to continue to isolate the Syrian government from the family of nations and place irresistible moral and economic pressure on Syria to refrain from the use of chemical weapons against innocent people.

      7. We call on all persons of faith to pray for all leaders who are faced with the terrible decisions of war, including the President of the United States whose clear intention is to protect the innocent.

      Source: http://www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us/news/syriaaugust2013.php

    • My ambivalent support for US strikes in Syria

      September 6, 2013 1:45PM ET by Fares Chamseddine – AlAjazeeraAmerica

      Commentary: A Syrian expatriate uneasily backs outside military intervention
      Topics: Syria International Syria’s War

      Syrians smoke waterpipes, as they drink tea and coffee, at a cafe in DamascusJoseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images
      Editor’s note: The author has decided to write under a pen name, to protect associates in Syria from possible reprisals.

      The irony is not lost on Syrians that the very democracy and system of checks and balances that Bashar al-Assad so brutally denies them is now providing him with the cover and breathing space to carry on pacifying Syria. As the U.S. Congress debates taking military action against the Assad regime — a measure I ultimately support — I find myself holding the very same misgivings that have convinced other Syrians to oppose them.

      When the British Parliament voted last week against any possibility of military action in Syria, the first I heard of the result was actually from relatives in Damascus. They had been watching the news intently and called me almost immediately to tell me, “Your guy lost the vote!” The sense of relief in their voices at Prime Minister David Cameron’s loss was palpable and in the days prior to the debate we had all shared a deep sense of foreboding. In our conversations I would ask them about the precautions they’d taken, and scold them for not taping up their windows to stop the glass from shattering on them. They still haven’t done that yet. And yet in spite of our temporary relief there was also a sense of depression. The situation was still as it was, the fighting and the shelling did not stop. In fact it continued as “normal” the very next day.

      The idea of wanting foreign intervention in Syria is one that I am still struggling with. At every moment, I ask myself if this is the right thing to do. What if innocent people are killed? What if this really is a prelude to turning Syria into some vassal state that is weak, corrupt and now completely subjugated by foreign countries. As a Syrian, I have had a lifetime of dogma fed to me about “the foreign enemy” coming to exploit us. But then I see the videos of those people who died from the chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, a short car journey from where we used to live. I forced myself to see them, though I have avoided watching many of the graphic clips that have been flooding my inbox in the last two years. I see a girl who can’t believe she is alive, and a grown man flopping about like a fish out of water. There is no blood or outward signs of violence, just people who appear to have lost their minds and bodily functions because of some chemical. It was these videos that terrified me over my loved ones more than anything I had seen before. These people were apparently killed by their own government. If our lives are so cheap and worthless that fellow Syrians could lob missiles loaded with Sarin on us, then pray tell me, what is left for foreign conspiracies?

      For more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/6/my-ambivalent-supportforusstrikesinsyria.html

    • Ambassador Power on Syria at the Center for American Progress
      U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power

      U.S. Mission to the United Nations – New York, N.Y.

      2013-09-06

      Good afternoon. I’m very glad to be back in Washington this afternoon, and among so many friends here at the Center for American Progress. As you know, my topic today is Syria, which presents one of the most critical foreign policy challenges we face.

      Syria is important because it lies at the heart of a region critical to U.S. security, a region that is home to friends and partners and one of our closest allies. It is important because the Syrian regime possesses stores of chemical weapons that they have recently used on a large scale and that we cannot allow to fall into terrorists’ hands.

      It is important because the Syrian regime is collaborating with Iran, and works in lockstep with thousands of extremist fighters from Hezbollah. And Syria is important because its people – in seeking freedom and dignity — have suffered unimaginable horror these last two and a half years.

      But I also recognize how ambivalent Americans are about the situation there.

      On the one hand, we Americans share a desire, after two wars, which have taken 6,700 American lives and cost over $1 trillion dollars, to invest taxpayer dollars in American schools and infrastructure. Yet on the other hand, Americans have heard the President’s commitment that this will not be Iraq, this will not be Afghanistan, this will not be Libya. Any use of force will be limited and tailored narrowly to the chemical weapons threat.

      For more: http://www.humanrights.gov/2013/09/06/ambassador-power-on-syria-at-the-center-for-american-progress/

    • Remarks of President Barack Obama
      Weekly Address
      The White House

      September 7, 2013

      Almost three weeks ago in Syria, more than 1,000 innocent people – including hundreds of children – were murdered in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. And the United States has presented a powerful case to the world that the Syrian government was responsible for this horrific attack on its own people.

      This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security. There’s a reason governments representing 98 percent of the world’s people have agreed to ban the use of chemical weapons. Not only because they cause death and destruction in the most indiscriminate and inhumane way possible – but because they can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do us harm.

      That’s why, last weekend, I announced that, as Commander in Chief, I decided that the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime. This is not a decision I made lightly. Deciding to use military force is the most solemn decision we can make as a nation.

      As the leader of the world’s oldest Constitutional democracy, I also know that our country will be stronger if we act together, and our actions will be more effective. That’s why I asked Members of Congress to debate this issue and vote on authorizing the use of force.

      What we’re talking about is not an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan. There would be no American boots on the ground. Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope – designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so.

      I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. That’s why we’re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war.

      But we are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria. Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons. All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.

      That’s why we can’t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one – even if they happen halfway around the world. And that’s why I call on Members of Congress, from both parties, to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in; the kind of world we want to leave our children and future generations.

      Thank you.

    • UN team could submit report on chemical weapons use in Syria next week

      9/8/13 9 hours ago By ANI

      Washington, Sept. 8 (ANI): A team of United Nations inspectors investigating use of chemical weapons in Syria could submit initial findings by the end of next week.

      German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said the interim report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will likely contain details on the gas, ammunition and delivery systems used in the attack that killed hundreds of people in a suburb of Damascus.

      Chief U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said they have said many times that there will be no preliminary report, Fox News reports.
      Nesirky said that the report on the August 21 incident will be given to the Security Council and other member states once the lab analysis is complete.

      According to the report, the newspaper said its report was based on information provided by two unnamed persons close to the inspection team.

      The paper reported that the inspectors collected almost 100 samples from the site of the attack, including pieces of rubble and ammunitions remains, hair, tissue, blood and urine samples from humans and animals.

    • Three positions on the Syria crisis

      September 9, 2013 1:34PM ET by Samuel Moyn – AlJazeeraAmerica

      Commentary: Humanitarians, pragmatists, and anti-imperialists offer different approaches to Syria

      Since rumors of an imminent U.S strike on Syria began several weeks ago, three different positions on the proposal have crystallized. A review of their claims helps clarify the strengths and shortcomings of President Barack Obama’s plan for military intervention.

      Humanitarianism

      The first position — call it the humanitarian imperative — is that suffering demands action. No one except the United States can or will stop the bloodshed, and if the U.S. does not act innocents will be slaughtered. Yet many innocents have already been slaughtered. The humanitarian imperative has applied throughout the long and bloody history of Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown, but has not convinced the U.S. and its allies to intervene. It is probably true that Barack Obama‘s call for military strikes is in part driven by concern for innocents, but it is notable that he made his case for armed intervention only once the world saw the results of chemical weapons.

      Kosovo is often cited as a moral precedent for action, but in between Kosovo in 1999 and Syria in 2013, the world has learned much about the blind spots of humanitarianism. I worked as an intern at the Clinton White House during the Kosovo strikes. In Washington in those days, it was the argument of “never again” that convinced many of us that bombing was justified; humanitarian considerations were strong enough to justify action. In Syria, they have proven far weaker, in part because after Iraq they are met by widespread skepticism that the U.S. and other great powers ever act from purely moral intentions.

      For more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/9/three-positions-onthesyriacrisis.html

    • ‘Clear and convincing’ evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria, UN team reports

      16 September 2013 un.org

      A United Nations team probing the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria has found “clear and convincing evidence” that Sarin gas was used in an incident that occurred on 21 August in the Ghouta area on the outskirts of Damascus.

      The report, delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday and made public today, concludes that on the basis of evidence obtained during the investigation of the Ghouta incident, “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in [Syria], also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”

      The team, lead by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, also concludes in particular that the environmental, chemical and medical samples collected provide “clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-air- rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah, and Zamalka, in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”

      A UN spokesperson has announced that the Secretary-General will shortly brief the press on the findings in the report following his meeting with the Security Council. He also plans to present the report to the General Assembly.

      ——–

      September 16,2013
      12:50 PM ET
      UN Releases Syria’s Chemical Weapons Report
      CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/UN-Releases-Syrias-Chemical-Weapons-Report/10737441264/

      • September 16, 2013

        Statement by the NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Presidential Determination with Respect to Syria

        Today, the President signed a Presidential Determination exercising his authority to waive certain restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act. This action will allow the U.S. Government to provide or license, where appropriate, certain non-lethal assistance inside or related to Syria. This includes: 1) chemical weapons-related personal protective equipment to international organizations, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, for the conduct of their operations; 2) chemical weapons-related life-saving assistance for organizations implementing Department of State or U.S. Agency for International Development programs to strengthen local Syrian health care providers’ ability to prepare for and respond to any use of chemical weapons; and 3) defensive chemical weapons-related training and personal protective equipment to select vetted members of the Syrian opposition, including the Supreme Military Council, to protect against the use of chemical weapons. This action is part of longstanding and ongoing efforts to provide life-saving chemical weapons-related assistance to people in need in Syria.

      • Hugh Jackman: I feel for Obama

        9/16/13 11:26 AM EDT By CAITLIN MCDEVITT – TheHill

        Actor Hugh Jackman says it’s no wonder that President Barack Obama is going gray.

        Asked about Syria during a movie premiere last week, the “Wolverine” star told Fox411, “I have a lot of thoughts on it. The first thought was, after the speeches had been made, and it was late at night, and I just thought how lonely and difficult it must be for President Obama to go to bed and be alone thinking about the weight and burden of it on his shoulders. On one hand, you’ve got history of the Holocaust or Rwanda if you do nothing. On the other hand, you have violence begetting violence and what a difficult thing to get into.”

        “So, I feel for him. There is no right answer,” Jackman said. “It’s no wonder presidents go gray so quickly.”

  3. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    9/6/13 3:38 PM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO44

    “Meet the Press” on NBC
    • White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
    • Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.),
    • Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D- Calif.)
    • Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman, House Homeland Security Committee
    • Sen. Tom Udall (D- N.M.)
    • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)
    • Former White House senior adviser David Axelrod

    “Face the Nation” on CBS
    • McDonough
    • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman, House Intelligence Committee
    • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
    • Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)

    “This Week” on ABC
    • McDonough
    • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
    • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)
    • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

    “Fox News Sunday” on Fox
    • McDonough
    • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

    “State of the Union” on CNN
    • McDonough
    • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
    • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
    • Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman, House Armed Services Committee
    • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
    • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
    • Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

    “Political Capital” on “Bloomberg TV
    • Former White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley

    “Newsmakers” on C-SPAN
    • Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chairman, House Democratic Caucus

    “Al Punto” on Univision
    • Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)
    • Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.)

  4. WH

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama attends meetings at the White House

    President Obama sits for interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC, and PBS

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:30 AM
    Vice President Biden discusses the importance of infrastructure investments
    Port of Baltimore , Baltimore, Maryland

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press

    2:00 PM
    2:45 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  5. Obama to hold Syria interviews with 6 TV networks

    9/7/13 3:24 PM EDT By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    President Obama will sit for interviews Monday with six TV networks as he makes his case to the nation for military intervention in Syria.

    Obama will tape interviews Monday afternoon with anchors from ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as with PBS, CNN and Fox News, the White House said.

    The interviews will be conducted by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, CBS’s Scott Pelley, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Fox’s Chris Wallace, NBC’s Brian Williams and PBS’s Gwen Ifill.

    The interviews will air that night, ahead of Obama’s Tuesday speech on Syria.

  6. September 04, 2013

    Vice President Biden to Travel to Baltimore, Maryland

    WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, September 9th, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, for an event at the Port of Baltimore to highlight a major transportation announcement. The Vice President will discuss the importance of infrastructure investments to improving America’s competitiveness, strengthening the middle class, and growing our economy from the middle out.

  7. White House Hosts Forum to Counter Wildlife Trafficking and Announces Advisory Council

    Grant T. Harris
    September 06, 2013 01:00 PM EDT

    “The entire world has a stake in making sure that we preserve Africa’s beauty for future generations.”

    – President Obama in Tanzania on July 1, 2013, announcing his Executive Order on Wildlife Trafficking

    Tune in on Monday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at http://www.wh.gov/live as the White House hosts a Forum to Counter Wildlife Trafficking featuring Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton.

    At the President’s direction, the United States is intensifying our assistance to foreign governments working to combat wildlife trafficking and related organized crime. At the Forum, Secretary Jewell will announce the members of the new Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. The Council will work closely with and advise the President’s Task Force in developing a National Strategy on these issues, as directed by the Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking that the President signed in July.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/06/white-house-hosts-forum-counter-wildlife-trafficking-and-announces-advisory-council

  8. NAACP President Ben Jealous to step down this year

    9/8/13 3 hours ago BRETT ZONGKER – AP

    WASHINGTON (AP) — NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, who is credited with boosting finances at the nation’s largest civil rights organization and helping to stabilize it, said Sunday that he plans to step down at the end of the year.

    The Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said that its rosters of online activists and donors have grown tremendously during his five-year tenure. Jealous was the group’s youngest-ever leader when he was hired as its president at age 35 in 2008.

    In a written statement Sunday, Jealous, now 40, said he plans to pursue teaching at a university and wants to spend time with his young family.

    “The NAACP has always been the largest civil rights organization in the streets, and today it is also the largest civil rights organization online, on mobile and at the ballot box too,” Jealous said. “I am proud to leave the association financially sound, sustainable, focused, and more powerful than ever.”

    Jealous plans to step down on Dec. 31. His departure plans were first reported by USA Today, which said he was in the first year of a three-year contract.

    Jealous told the newspaper he also plans to start a political action committee to raise money to elect diverse progressive candidates to public office, though not necessarily only Democrats. During President Barack Obama’s first campaign, Jealous said he teamed with others to create a fundraising group that raised $10 million to help elect the first black president.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/naacp-president-ben-jealous-step-down-203930679.html

  9. Kerry: Assad Can Avoid Military Action If He Turns Over Weapons

    7:28 AM EDT, MONDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 TOM KLUDT – tpm

    Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can avoid a U.S.-led military strike if he relinquishes his chemical weapons.

    “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done,” Kerry said in London, as quoted by Reuters.

    Assad’s regime has never officially confirmed that it has chemical weapons, but in an interview airing Monday, the embattled leader warned that the U.S. should brace itself for “every action” if it uses military force in Syria.

    When asked if chemical weapons could be a part of retaliation against the U.S., Assad said it would depend on whether “the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it.”

    “It could happen, I don’t know. I am not fortune teller,” he said.

    • U.S. To Take ‘Hard Look’ At Russia’s Syria Proposal

      SEPTEMBER 9, 2013, 2:05 PM MATTHEW LEE – tpm

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Monday it would take a “hard look” at a proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military strike, but voiced skepticism that Syria would carry out such a plan.

      State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. would consider the proposal floated by the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria with “serious skepticism” because it might be a stalling tactic. She said Syria had consistently refused to destroy its chemical weapons in the past.

      The proposal came after Secretary of State John Kerry said in London that Syrian President Bashar Assad could end the crisis by turning over all his chemical weapons. Harf said Kerry wasn’t putting forth a formal proposal.

      Kerry told reporters in London Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of “every single bit” of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

      Hours later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised to push its ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem quickly embraced the proposal. That was followed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also urged Syria to agree.

      “Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” al-Moallem said during a visit to Moscow, where he met with Lavrov.

      Even as the White House continued to build its case for action, with Obama taping six television network interviews late Monday and administration officials briefing more members of Congress as they returned from summer recess, administration officials sought to put the onus for the startling diplomatic maneuver on Russia, with administration spokesmen saying the White House would “take a hard look” at Russia’s proposal.

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/us-to-take-hard-look-at-russias-syria-proposal.php

  10. Russia to push Syria to surrender chemical weapons

    9/9/13 1 hour ago VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV – AP

    MOSCOW (AP) — In a surprise move, Russia promised Monday to push its ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes.

    The announcement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of “every single bit” of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

    Kerry added that he thought Assad “isn’t about to do it,” but Lavrov, who just wrapped a round of talks in Moscow with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem, said that Moscow would try to convince the Syrians.

    “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus,” Lavrov said.

    “We are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons,” he said.

    Lavrov said that he has already handed over the proposal to al-Moallem and expects a “quick, and, hopefully, positive answer.”

    His statement followed media reports alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who discussed Syria with President Barack Obama during the group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg last week, sought to negotiate a deal that would have Assad hand over control of chemical weapons.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/russia-push-syria-surrender-chemical-weapons-143023245.html

    • Syria welcomes Russian chemical arms proposal

      9/9/13 34 minutes ago Alexei Anishchuk – Reuters

      MOSCOW (Reuters) – Syria welcomes a Russian proposal to place the nation’s chemical weapons under international control, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday after talks in Moscow, praising the Kremlin for seeking to “prevent American aggression.”

      Moualem, who spoke to reporters through an interpreter after Russia expressed hope the proposal could avert military strikes against Syria, stopped short of saying explicitly that President Bashar al-Assad’s government accepted it.

      “I state that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership’s concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country, and also motivated by our confidence in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is attempting to prevent American aggression against our people,” he said.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/syria-welcomes-russian-chemical-arms-arsenal-proposal-155415337.html

    • Obama: Syrian offer a ‘potentially positive development’

      9/09/13 06:03 PM ET By Justin Sink – TheHill

      President Obama said Syria’s offer to place its chemical weapons under international controls is a “significant” and a “potentially positive development.”

      Obama in an interview with NBC News said the offer had to be taken “with a grain of salt” given Syria’s behavior, but also said it would be scrutinized seriously.

      “We are going to run this to ground,” he told NBC in one of six network interviews he taped Tuesday afternoon.

      “[Secretary of State] John Kerry will be talking to his Russian counterpart. We’re going to make sure that we see how serious these proposals are. And my preference consistently has been a diplomatic resolution to this problem,” he said.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/321155-obama-youre-not-getting-a-direct-response-on-military-action-in-syria

    • Biden says $10 million grant will take Baltimore’s port to ‘new level’

      Vice president says improvements will mean jobs

      9/9/13 By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

      A new $10 million federal grant will help the port of Baltimore keep pace in the dynamic global shipping economy, while creating “jobs you can raise a family on, middle-class jobs,” Vice President Joe Biden said during a visit to the port on Monday.

      Biden praised the city’s port for contributing to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.

      “This grant is going to help take this historic port to a new level,” Biden said.

      Biden visited the port’s Seagirt Marine Terminal in Dundalk more than a week after the Maryland congressional delegation announced the grant, which will help pay for improving access to that terminal and an expansion of Fairfield Marine Terminal in South Baltimore.

      Fairfield is the port’s facility that handles its thriving roll-on/roll-off business for vehicles. Baltimore is the nation’s No. 1 port for such vehicle imports and exports.

      The $10 million, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant, will be matched with $19 million in state funding.

      The money will be used to:

      • Deepen the access channel to Seagirt, which would allow the largest containerships to reach the port’s most modern container terminal;

      • Use dredged materials from the deepening project to fill an obsolete basin at Fairfield, adding 7.6 acres of storage land and allowing the port to handle 20,000 more vehicles a year;

      • Expand railroad access at Fairfield by building a new rail loading and unloading facility there.

      Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-biden-port-20130909,0,6028069.story

    • Bigger, Busier Port of Baltimore Means More Good Jobs

      Secretary Anthony Foxx September 10, 2013 01:02 PM EDT

      At the Department of Transportation, we know firsthand the role transportation plays in moving our economy forward. And that’s literally what takes place at the Port of Baltimore every day.

      Moving cargo is the lifeblood of our economy. And our ports are essential to growing our nation’s exports.

      That’s why, yesterday, I joined Vice President Biden to announce a $10 million DOT TIGER grant for the port that will expand a busy terminal and allow the deepening of a key navigation channel to proceed.

      Together, these improvements will increase efficiency at the Port, reduce shipping costs for auto exporters; and allow shippers to take advantage of the new, larger container ships that will soon be coming through the expanded Panama Canal. As the Vice President said, “If we make it in America … we’ve got to be able to ship it around the world.”

      This country will be defined by whether we can connect every American to the 21st Century economy.

      And since day one, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and DOT have worked hard to build the roads and bridges, railways and runways that will help do just that.

      It’s all part of our plan to secure a better bargain for the middle class – making sure everyone who works hard has a chance to succeed. And the middle class has no greater champions than President Obama and Vice President Biden.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/10/bigger-busier-port-baltimore-means-more-good-jobs

      ———

      Vice President Joe Biden tours Port of Baltimore

      Published on Sep 9, 2013

      Vice President Joe Biden toured the Port of Baltimore on Monday.

  11. Elizabeth Warren assails Supreme Court as too far right

    9/8/13 7:47 PM EDT By ALEXANDER BURNS – POLITICO

    LOS ANGELES — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka denounced the United States Supreme Court on Sunday as a right-wing panel that serves the interests of corporate America, previewing a theme that is likely to rise in prominence with the approach of the 2016 election.

    On the opening day of the AFL-CIO’s convention, Warren — the highest-profile national Democrat to address the gathering here — warned attendees of a “corporate capture of the federal courts.”

    In a speech that voiced a range of widely held frustrations on the left, Warren assailed the court as an instrument of the wealthy that regularly sides with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She cited an academic study that called the current Supreme Court’s five conservative-leaning justices among the “top 10 most pro-corporate justices in half a century.”

    “You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business,” Warren said, drawing murmurs from the crowd.

    Speaking to reporters earlier Sunday, Trumka sounded a similar note on the Supreme Court, calling the current panel “the best champion of corporate America” and raising the prospect of a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s rulings against campaign finance regulation.

    “If may take a constitutional amendment, because this Supreme Court, as currently constituted, equates money with free speech,” Trumka said.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/elizabeth-warren-supreme-court-far-right-96449.html?hp=f3

  12. 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET
    White House Forum to Counter Wildlife Trafficking
    Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • September 09, 2013

      Establishment of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking

      Today at the White House, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the members of the Advisory Council to the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking.

      As directed by the Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking that the President signed on July 1, the Advisory Council is comprised of knowledgeable private-sector leaders, representatives of nonprofit organizations, and former government officials, who will advise and assist the Presidential Task Force, including as it works to develop a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/09/establishment-advisory-council-wildlife-trafficking

      ————

      White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

      Published on Sep 10, 2013

      Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, and issue experts come together to highlight the U.S. government’s new efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, and discuss how governments, NGO’s and corporations can further partner on this issue. September 9, 2013.

    • Hillary Clinton backs Obama on Syria action

      9/9/13 3 minutes 20 seconds ago Roberta Rampton, – Reuters

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential nominee, backed President Barack Obama’s attempts to seek military action against Syria on Monday and urged Congress to support him.

      In a White House event about wildlife trafficking, Clinton diverted from the subject to comment on efforts to pressure Syria over an August 21 chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials say killed 1,429 people.

      It would be an “important step” if the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad immediately ceded control of chemical weapons, she said.

      “The Assad regime’s inhumane use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order,” Clinton said.

      ————

      Former Secretary of State Clinton’s Statement on Syria

      Published on Sep 9, 2013

      Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks about the ongoing situation in Syria.

    • 6 tons of seized ivory to be crushed in Denver

      Federal wildlife officials plan to crush more than 6 tons of seized ivory in Denver next month

      9/10/13 20 minutes ago Associated Press

      DENVER (AP) — Federal wildlife officials plan to crush more than 6 tons of ivory in Denver as part of a new push by the United States to combat illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide.

      The ivory that is being stored in a warehouse near Denver was seized around the country in an effort to block imports of tusks from elephants that have been slaughtered for their ivory.

      The seized items include large balls of ivory delicately carved in layers and whole tusks that have been sculpted into pagodas and scenes from daily life.

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said publicly crushing the expensive smuggled tusks and carvings is part of an effort to put an end to what has become a $10 billion illegal industry. Steve Oberholtzer, the agency’s Denver-based special agent in charge, is lining up rock-grinders to pulverize the ivory in October.

      Governments cooperating with the efforts to stem the slaughter of elephants already have destroyed some of the ivory seized from poachers, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Monday at a White House forum where the initiative was launched.

      “The U.S. supports these actions, and we want to make sure we are doing the same,” Jewell said.

      President Barack Obama issued an order July 1 to fight the killing of protected wildlife, stop the trafficking, and reduce demand for illegal rhino horns and ivory. Members of a newly created advisory council sketched a broad approach of enlisting governments, companies and nonprofits worldwide, the Denver Post reported Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/pzmcz9g).

      U.S. officials said they will also give $10 million to help fight poaching in Africa and will try to persuade Asian governments to outlaw trinkets and other products made from elephant ivory.

      Tactics being considered include using technology to monitor elephants, a social media campaign in China to stigmatize the industry, and cooperation with companies such as eBay to curb commerce.

      The National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado holds smuggled wildlife parts seized at seaports, border crossings and airports nationwide. Other items seized include leopard and tiger heads, bear claws and crocodile boots.

      For more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-tons-seized-ivory-crushed-133249566.html

  13. WH

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    President Obama meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus

    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    President Obama meets with the Senate Republican Conference

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    President Obama Addresses the Nation on Syria
    East Room

    10:00 PM

  14. Obama: Strikes ‘absolutely’ on hold if Syria quits chemical arms

    September 9, 2013 Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News

    President Barack Obama said Monday that he will “absolutely” hold off on striking Syria if President Bashar Assad puts his chemical weapons arsenals under international control in line with a Russia-backed proposal.

    In a series of six television interviews, Obama also said he was not “confident” of getting congressional authorization to use force and had not decided whether to go ahead with attacking Syria if he doesn’t. But he warned that “the U.S. does not do pinpricks.”

    The president’s unprecedented public relations blitz came as public opinion polls showed that solid majorities of Americans oppose going to war with Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad’s forces on Aug. 21. The United States says it is sure the regime carried out that assault and that it left about 1,400 dead, including several hundred children.

    In addition to interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and PBS, Obama was to deliver a prime-time address to the nation on Tuesday night.

    On ABC, Obama’s pledged to hold off on attacking if Assad and Syria’s patron Russia prove they are serious about taking steps to put the regime’s chemical weapons under international control in an “enforceable and verifiable” way. The notion was first floated by Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Monday, and quickly seized on by Russia, a long-time patron of Syria, as a way to defuse the threat of American military action.

    Obama, standing on the threshold of one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, told NBC that the Russian-backed proposal could turn out to be “a significant breakthrough” – or a bust.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/-obama-on-syria–u-s–‘does-not-do-pinpricks’-220312524.html

    • Obama: Even Michelle’s answer on war ‘is no’

      9/09/13 07:01 PM ET By Mario Trujillo – TheHill

      President Obama acknowledged Monday that even his wife, Michelle, is skeptical of having the U.S. become embroiled in another overseas military conflict.

      Obama, in a number of television interviews taped Monday, used his wife to drive home the point that he understands most Americans remain skeptical of his proposal for a limited strike in Syria.

      “If you ask somebody, if you ask Michelle, ‘Do we – do we ant to be involved in another war? The answer is no,” Obama told NBC. “People are wary about it, understandably.”

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/321185-obama-even-michelle-opposed-to-war

  15. US soccer

    Sep. 10, 2013
    U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Mexico – 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
    U.S. Men vs. Mexico
    8 p.m. ET
    Columbus Crew Stadium
    Columbus, Ohio
    ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas

    The USA Men now needs a win against Mexico in its next World Cup qualifier on Sept. 10 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, combined with a Honduras win or draw at home against Panama to clinch a berth to the 2014 World Cup.

    • U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Mexico – 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

      U.S. Men vs. Mexico
      8 p.m. ET
      Columbus Crew Stadium
      Columbus, Ohio

      FiNAL SCORE: US Men 2:0 Mexico Men

      Johnson 49′, Donovan 78

      ————-

      U.S. MNT Qualifies for 2014 World Cup in Brazil with 2-0 Victory Against Mexico at Sold-Out Columbus Crew Stadium

      The U.S. Men’s National Team arrived on the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s doorstep with a win over Mexico in the MNT’s favorite playground — Columbus Crew Stadium. Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan provided the goals in the 2-0 victory.

      Sep. 10, 2013 ussoccer

      * Landon Donovan Scores 57th Goal of U.S. Career in the 78th Minute and Assists Eddie Johnson’s Game-Winning Tally in the 49th Minute
      * USA Advances to 2014 FIFA World Cup After Honduras Ties Panama 2-2 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
      * U.S. Sets Record for Victories in a Calendar Year with 14th Win in 2013
      * With Berth to Brazil in Hand, USA Resumes World Cup Qualifying against Jamaica on Oct. 11 at Sporting Park in Kansas City; Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. CT, with live Broadcast on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio

      COLUMBUS (Sept. 10, 2013) – In front of a raucous capacity crowd of 24,584 at Columbus Crew Stadium, the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Mexico 2-0 in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying to earn its berth to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

      The victory, combined with Honduras tying Panama 2-2 in Tegucigalpa an hour later, provided the USA its seventh-consecutive FIFA World Cup berth and 10th overall.

      USA vs. Mexico, presented by AT&T, was billed as the most anticipated match of the Hexagonal, and the U.S. did not disappoint. For the fourth-consecutive time during a World Cup Qualifying cycle, the USA defeated Mexico 2-0 at Crew Stadium.

      “They’re experienced players, they’ve played these games before and they know what these games are about,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said of his team, which was playing without several key players to injury or yellow card accumulation. “I told them over the last couple days that I expect their leadership. I expect them to carry us through difficult moments, whatever happens.”

      Eddie Johnson scored the 19th goal of his career and 12th tally in World Cup Qualifying, knifing through the center of the penalty area to smash home a header off a Landon Donovan corner kick in the 49th minute. Donovan clinched the game – and sealed the now-famous score line – in the 78th minute.

      The USA came with inches of winning 3-0, but captain Clint Dempsey struck a penalty kick just outside the right post in second half stoppage time after he was taken down in the right side of the penalty box following a nifty dribble.

      For more: http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2013/09/130910-mnt-match-report-vs-mexico.aspx

  16. Syria accepts Russian chemical weapons proposal – Interfax

    9/10/13 22 minutes ago Steve Gutterman – Reuters

    MOSCOW – The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control to avoid a possible U.S. military strike, Interfax news agency quoted Syria’s foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.

    “We held a very fruitful round of talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday, and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening we agreed to the Russian initiative,” Interfax quoted the minister, Walid al-Moualem, as telling the speaker of Russia’s lower house parliament house in Moscow.

    He said Syria had agreed because this would “remove the grounds for American aggression,” the report said.

  17. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales

    Released On 9/10/2013 7:45:00 AM For wk9/7, 2013

    Prior Actual
    Store Sales – W/W change -0.6 % 1.5 %
    Store Sales – Y/Y 1.8 % 2.3 %

    Highlights
    ICSC-Goldman reports a surge of consumer strength in the September 7 week with same-store sales up 1.5 percent for a year-on-year rate of 2.3 percent which is up 5 tenths. Consumer staples leads the gain with grocery stores, drug stores and wholesale clubs reporting the most strength. The gain, however, follows a sizable 0.6 percent dip in the prior week, a week when Redbook reported a huge gain.

    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar/

    • White House Public Health & Prevention Champions of Change

      Published on Sep 10, 2013

      On September 10, the White House, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, will host the Public Health & Prevention Champions of Change event. These leaders are helping communities focus on prevention and public health by tackling childhood obesity, combating the tobacco epidemic, reducing health disparities, fighting healthcare acquired infections, and taking other innovative and meaningful steps to support a healthier America. The Affordable Care Act also called for the creation of the National Prevention Strategy, which is prioritizing prevention and helping to move the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention. The Champions we will recognize are driving that change in communities across the country. September 10, 2013.

  18. Redbook

    Released On 9/10/2013 8:55:00 AM For wk9/7, 2013

    Prior Actual
    Store Sales Y/Y change 4.7 % 4.6 %

    Highlights
    Same-store sales are trending at their strongest level in nearly 2 years for Redbook’s sample which reports 4.6 percent same-store sales growth in the September 7 week. This follows the prior week’s 4.7 percent rate and lifts the 4-week average to 4.1 percent which was last exceeded in November 2011. Redbook, like ICSC-Goldman earlier this morning, reports strength in consumer staples centered in discount stores. Redbook notes softer results at department stores. The back-to-school season has now passed its peak but has been a success at least based on Redbook.

    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar/

  19. Secretary Kerry to Participate in a Google+ Hangout on “Syria: Weighing the U.S. Response”

    Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    September 9, 2013

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will participate in a Google+ Hangout hosted by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Lara Setrakian, founder of the digital news site Syria Deeply, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10.

    The Hangout – entitled, “Syria: Weighing the U.S. Response” – will also feature Andrew Beiter, a social studies teacher and a regional education coordinator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    This roundtable discussion will focus on President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for a limited military strike to deter and degrade Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and Secretary Kerry will have an opportunity to answer questions submitted by online viewers.

    Secretary Kerry’s participation in this event represents ongoing efforts to explain why taking action to hold the Assad regime accountable for its violation of international norms is important to American interests and security.

    The hangout can be viewed live on State.gov and Google+.

  20. Obama agrees to U.N. talks on Russia’s Syria plan

    9/10/13 JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 9/10/13 11:06 AM EDT Updated: 9/10/13 1:55 PM EDT POLITICO

    President Barack Obama has agreed to engage in discussions at the United Nations on Russia’s proposal for Syria to hand over control of its chemical weapons to the international community — but Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he will only move ahead if Obama agrees to take the use of force off the table.

    Efforts to reach an agreement at the United Nations began Tuesday, as France proposed a Security Council resolution that Russia quickly dismissed as “unacceptable,” before Putin called on Obama to renounce the use of force.

    “Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the U.S. and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country — Syria or any other country in the world — to unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration,” Putin said Tuesday, according to Russia Today.

    For more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obama-syria-chemical-weapons-proposal-96547.html?hp=t3_3

  21. The White House may really be about to win on Syria

    September 10 at 3:07 By Ezra Klein – WashingtonPost

    The AP tweets:

    ap-91013-syria-tweet

    Assuming that sticks, it’s game. The White House just achieved its goal.

    Remember: The White House’s aim here wasn’t to topple Assad, or even hurt him. It was to affirm and reinforce the international norm against chemical weapons. Here’s how President Obama described it to NBC News:

    The chemical weapons ban that has been in place is not something that only protects civilians. It also protects our own troops. You know, they don’t have to wear gas masks even in tough battlefields because there is a strong prohibition and countries generally don’t stockpile them. And if we see that ban unravel, it will create a more dangerous world for us and for our troops when they’re in theater as well as for civilians around the world. It is worth preserving.

    Assad is now agreeing to preserve and strengthen that norm. He’s agreeing to sign the treaty banning chemical weapons — a treaty Syria has been one of the lone holdouts against. He’s creating a situation in which it would be almost impossible for him to use chemical weapons in the future, as doing so would break his promises to the global community, invite an immediate American response, and embarrass Russia.

    This is, in many ways, a better outcome than the White House could have hoped for. Punishing Syria may or may not have actually reinforced the norm against chemical weapons — particularly if the strikes went bad and the American people punished members of Congress who voted for them. But Syria joining the treaty against chemical weapons definitely, almost definitionally, reinforces the ban.

    For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/10/the-white-house-may-really-be-about-to-win-on-syria/

  22. Hillary Clinton in elite company as Liberty Medal recipient

    9/10/13 NCC Staff

    When former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton receives the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, she’ll join an elite list of leaders and humanitarians.

    Clinton will receive the medal on Tuesday night in recognition of her lifelong career in public service and her ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls around the globe.

    The 25th annual Liberty Medal ceremony is at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia and will be broadcast live on WPVI-TV/6abc.

    Last year, Muhammad Ali received the medal at the National Constitution Center. Lech Walesa was awarded the first Liberty Medal in 1989.

    “Liberty is not only a right, but also our common responsibility and duty,” Walesa said in his acceptance speech.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/hillary-clinton-elite-company-liberty-medal-recipent-123611190.html

    • September 10, 2013

      Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Syria

      East Room

      9:01 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria — why it matters, and where we go from here.

      Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.

      This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.

      On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/10/remarks-president-address-nation-syria

  23. Obama Chooses Top Justice National Security Official

    Sep 10, 2013 3:35 PM PT By Phil Mattingly – bloomberg

    U.S. President Barack Obama nominated John P. Carlin as the top national security official at the Justice Department, the White House said.

    Carlin, if confirmed, would become the permanent replacement for Lisa Monaco, who in March became Obama’s top homeland security adviser. He has been serving as the acting assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division since Monaco’s departure.

    A Harvard Law School graduate, Carlin has run the department’s national security operation on an acting basis at a time of unprecedented volatility, starting with the Boston Marathon bombing in April and continuing with the disclosures by former government contractor Edward Snowden of classified intelligence and defense information.

    Carlin, in a June speech, outlined an “increasingly diverse and decentralized” terrorism threat, the growing threat of cyber terrorism and the increasing debate over the trade-off between intelligence collection and civil liberties as primary issues faced by the division.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-10/obama-chooses-top-justice-national-security-official.html

  24. UN confirms Syria’s Assad signed chemical weapons decree

    September 11, 2013 7:44PM ET AlJazeeraAmerica

    United Nations says Assad has signed a decree stating Syria will accede to international law on chemical weapons

    The United Nations said Thursday that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has signed a legal document confirming that his government will comply with an international ban on chemical weapons.

    But the announcement came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected Assad’s earlier pledge to sign the agreement and begin submitting data on his chemical weapons one month later, in keeping with the usual practice under the pact. Kerry said the usual rules cannot apply to the current situation, and he demanded speedier compliance.

    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office said that it has received a letter from Syria’s government saying Assad has signed a legislative degree providing for accession to the 1992 Convention on the Prohibition, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

    The secretary general “welcomes this development” and “hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community,” Ban’s office said.

    Hours earlier, at a news conference in Geneva after a meeting on the Syria situation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kerry noted that Assad said a 30-day lead time after signing the agreement would be standard.

    “There is nothing standard about this process,” Kerry said, because Assad has used his chemical weapons. “The words of the Syrian regime in our judgment are simply not enough.”

    Kerry added, “Only the credible threat of force and the intervention of Putin and Russia … has brought the Syrian regime for the first time to acknowledge that it even has chemical weapons and will now relinquish them.”

    “Together we will test the commitment of Assad to follow through with his promises,” Kerry added.

    He cautioned that a U.S. military strike could occur if Assad doesn’t agree to dismantle his chemical arsenal properly.

    “There ought to be consequences if it doesn’t take place,” Kerry said.

    For more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/11/syria-political-stalematelooms.html

  25. Kerry: US, Russia reach agreement on Syria weapons removal

    9/14/13 07:51 AM ET By Rachel Huggins – TheHill

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Saturday that a framework has been reached to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

    The deal, announced on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva, will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or military force if Syria does not comply, The Washington Post reported.

    Kerry said stockpiles should be removed or destroyed by mid-2014 and inspectors would be on the ground by November.

    “Any violations of procedures … would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures,” Lavrov said, according to The Associated Press.

    “Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council,” he added.

    • Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and UN Special Envoy Brahimi

      Published on Sep 13, 2013

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva, Switzerland on September 13, 2013. A text transcript can be found at:http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/09/214176.htm

  26. Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and UN Special Envoy Brahimi

    Published on Sep 13, 2013

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva, Switzerland on September 13, 2013. A text transcript can be found at:http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/09/214176.htm

  27. Intervention at the Geneva ll International Conference on Syria

    John Kerry
    Secretary of State
    Montreux, Switzerland
    January 22, 2014

    Thank you very much, Secretary Ban, and thank you, Ambassador Brahimi, for your commitment to helping the Syrian people find a new future. And I join with Foreign Minister Lavrov in thanking all of the countries around the table, all of the groups around the table. I thank President Burkhalter and the people of Switzerland for making this important meeting possible. And I thank the Russian Federation and Foreign Minister Lavrov for his cooperation and efforts together with us, working to try to initiate this process. I also want to welcome the leaders of the Syrian opposition, and I thank them for the courageous decision they’ve made. Everybody here knows the pressures that have existed.

    Today is a beginning. It’s a beginning of what will obviously be a tough and complicated negotiation; peace talks to end a war and to end a struggle like this always are tough. Frankly, this is a test for all of us who support the Syrian people in their effort to end the extraordinary suffering that the world has witnessed, and which continues. And it is a test of the global community’s ability to come together and ultimately secure a Syria where people can live in dignity and not in fear.

    I want to start by saying that I think it is impressive, I think it is significant in and of itself, that so many countries have come together, even though we know it’s for one day that all the countries will be here in this forum. But all of them have come together because everybody understands how critical it is for the world to prove that we have the ability to make a difference in this kind of a conflict.

    Now, lost in the daily reports of violence is the fact that this revolution did not begin as an armed resistance. This started peacefully. It was started by schoolboys in Daraa who are armed only with graffiti cans, citizens who were peacefully and legitimately calling for change. And they were met almost immediately with violence. When their parents came out to protest the arrest of the children, 120 people died. That was the beginning.

    And tragically, the Assad regime answered peaceful demonstration after peaceful demonstration with ever-increasing force. In the three years since then, this conflict has now left more than 130,000 dead, and it’s hard to count accurately. We all know that. The fact is that these people have been killed by guns, by tanks, by artillery, by gas, by barrel bombs, by Scud missiles. They’ve been killed by weapons almost exclusively of the magnitude not possessed by the opposition. Starvation has been used as a weapon of war. And most recently, we have seen horrific reports of systematic torture and execution of thousands of prisoners. This is an appalling assault, not only on human lives, but on human dignity and on every standard by which the international community tries to organize itself, recognizing the horrors of the humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded, the destabilization of neighboring countries, and the endless exile of refugees.

    For more: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/01/220504.htm

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