WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Facing opposition from some lawmakers and a skeptical public, President Barack Obama is intensifying an effort to swing the public opinion on his plan to attack Syria, with planned TV interviews and a major speech to the public next week.
TV INTERVIEWS, MAJOR PUBLIC SPEECH PLANNED NEXT WEEK
Obama, who just returned Friday night from the G20 summit in Russia, will tape his interviews with anchors of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and Fox News, according to the White House.
Those networks will air the interviews on Monday night ahead of a planned televised speech to the nation that Obama will make from the White House on Tuesday, in another push to win support for his military plan on Syria.
On Tuesday, Obama is scheduled to make a televised speech to the nation from the White House, to make the his case of taking military action on Syria.
Obama is eager to persuade Americans to support his plan to "punish" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for perpetrating the alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 outside Damascus, which the U.S. claims killed 1,429 people including 426 children. Damascus has vehemently rejected these accusations.
Obama announced on Aug. 31 that he decided to launch a limited military strike against Syria to hold al-Assad accountable for the attack, but he would first seek Congress' authorization on the use of force.
However, Obama is facing an uphill battle in Congress as public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that most Americans are against military intervention in Syria and many traditional allies, such as the United Kingdom, have refused to join the U.S. in the action.
It is expected that Obama can garner enough support from the Democrat-controlled Senate after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Wednesday a resolution on authorizing a limited U.S. military strike against Syria, thanks to the support of several hawks from the Republican Party.
The full house of the Senate is to hold a heated debate and a vote on the resolution in the week of Sept. 9 after it returns from the summer break.
But the real test for Obama will be in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, where many Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to Obama's Syria plan despite rare calls for support to Obama issued by Republican Speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor.
INTENSIFIED CAMPAIGN TO WIN DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
Obama on Saturday appealed to the U.S. public for support to his Syria plan, citing he has presented "a powerful case" to the world that Assad government should be held responsible for "the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century."
"This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address to the public.
Obama warned that if the U.S. takes not action, such weapons can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do the U.S. harm.
He tried to assure the war-weary nation that such military action in Syria will not be 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," Obama pledged.
In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks Saturday with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius to discuss the response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons. France if one of a few U.S. allies which has voiced strong support to the U.S. military plan on Syria.
The two agreed on the need to take quick moves to respond the alleged use of the deadly gas in Damascus, as Kerry stressed that the international community "should not remain indifferent in face of the massacre."
"We must give a clear, targeted and effective answer that aims at reducing the Syrian regime's capacity of using chemical arms and dissuade it of using them once again," Kerry noted.
Kerry's European tour, which will also take him to London, is designed to win more international support to the U.S. military plan to strike Syria to impose what he said the international norm banning the use of weapons of mass destruction.
As part of the Obama camp's intensified campaign to win public support, the Democrat-led Senate Intelligence Committee released 13 videos graphically showing the victims of the alleged chemical attack near Damascus on Aug. 21.
The videos show horrific graphic images of adults and children, who were convulsing and foaming despite no obvious blood and wounds on their bodies, in apparent signs of suffering from a chemical attack.
Major U.S. TV news networks, including the CNN, broadcast the videos though they admitted that they could not independently verify the authenticity of these videos.
PROTESTERS WARN OF DOMESTIC REPERCUSSIONS OF ATTACKING SYRIA
On Saturday, at least 150 U.S. protesters took to the streets near the White House and Capitol Hill to voice their opposition to military action against Syria and urge Congress to reject Obama's Syria plan.
Chanting "You say more war, we say no war," "Obama, hands off Syria; Congress, hands off Syria," the protesters walked in circles in front of the White House, holding placards saying "Bombing Syria doesn't protect people, it kills them."
Anti-war demonstrations were also held Saturday in other major U.S. cities, including New York, Boston and Indianapolis.
Radhika Miller, an activist with the anti-war group ANSWER Coalition that sponsored the protest outside the White House, said she is against striking Syria because "the bombs dropped in Syria kill people, and we will not allow you (U.S. government) to kill people in our name."
"The bombs we drop around the world explode here at home," she said, citing that many Americans are still suffering from pains of joblessness and a sluggish economy after billions of U.S. dollars were squandered in military actions abroad.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will hold interviews Monday with six major U.S. TV networks in another push to make the case to the U.S. public for a military strike on Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, the White House said Saturday. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- President Barack Obama said Saturday the United States could not turn a blind eye to Syria, where its government forces reportedly used chemical weapons in an attack near its capital of Damascus.
Obama made the remarks in his weekly radio and interned address published on the White House website, as he was stepping up a lobbying campaign for Congressional support of a military strike on Syria. Full story
DAMASCUS, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The leadership, or regional command, of Syria's ruling al-Baath party decided Saturday to stay in a "permanent session" in light of the growing threats of a possible U.S. military strike against the country.
The decision was made during a meeting between al-Baath and a number of other Syrian parties on the latest developments of the threats to Syria, state-run SANA news agency said. Full story