US Senate drafts legislation for military response: Venezuela warns Syrian attack a prelude to World War III

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
By Paul Martin
September 4, 2013

SYRIA – Leaders of the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee say they have reached an agreement on a draft authorization for the use of military force in Syria. The resolution would bar American ground troops for combat operations and set a deadline for any action. The measure would set a time limit of 60 days and says the president could extend that for an additional 30 days unless Congress has a vote of disapproval. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the committee, and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican, agreed on the measure late Tuesday. The foreign relations committee will vote on the draft resolution Wednesday. The draft came after an afternoon hearing in Washington. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey were dispatched to the Senate to help persuade lawmakers to support a resolution authorizing limited military strikes against Syria. Kerry said the number of chemical weapons attacks by Syrian government forces is in the double digits and that rebels put the number even higher. The figure cited by Kerry is significantly higher than any previous public estimate from the U.S. Before last month’s suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs, U.S. officials had spoken of several earlier incidents. But no one had put the total in double figures. Kerry told members of the Senate foreign relations committee that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime would definitely use chemical weapons again unless the U.S. takes military action. –CBC

Venezuela levels harsh criticism against U.S. – The United States is leading the globe on the path to World War III, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday. Maduro’s remarks were made during a television interview, according to Press TV, an official, state-controlled media outlet based in Tehran, Iran. In a Sunday letter to President Barack Obama, Press TV reported, Madero wrote, “As you well know, (the attack on Iraq) was a well mounted farce, but which resulted in the destruction of Iraq and which killed a million Iraqis. Millions of people…ask for a ceasefire, as well as ‘no’ to the military intervention by foreign powers in the Syrian Arab Republic.” Maduro referred to a possible attack on Syria as “unjust, nefarious and frightening. It was the United States that napalm and sarin released in Vietnam 30 years ago,” a Venezuelan government website quoted him as saying, “and later in Iraq and Libya with fatal consequences for its population.” Maduro, 50, assumed office in March following the death of President Hugo Chavez. He was elected president in April as the nominee of the United Socialist Party. He is a former vice president and minister of foreign affairs for Venezuela. –All Voice

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