The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Obama Says He's Not Made Final Decision On Syria

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:17 pm

Speaking during a photo op with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania today, President Obama said he has not made a final decision on launching a military strike on Syria.

But Obama echoed the case made earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry that chemical weapons in Syria threaten U.S. national security interests and that the use of chemical weapons is the "kind of offense that is a challenge to the world."

Obama said he is considering a "limited narrow act."

"We're not considering any open ended commitment," Obama said. "We're not considering any boots on the ground approach."

If you haven't been following the story, for the past week, the U.S. has been laying the ground work for a potential military intervention in Syria. The Obama administration says it has concluded that the regime of Bashar Assad was responsible for an alleged chemical attack that the administration says killed more than 1,000 people in a Damascus suburb. The administration released an declassified version of its intelligence assessment, today.

As The New York Times reports, Obama and United States are in a rare solo position, because one of its best allies, the United Kingdom, has decided not to join in on any military strike.

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. An Obligation:

Obama also said that the "world has an obligation to keep chemical weapons from being used."

"We cannot accept a world where women and children are gassed," at such a scale, Obama said.

Congress, the president added, will receive a classified briefing today, as will some international allies.

At the end of the photo-op, President Obama returned to the issue of Syria. He said that it was not in the country's national interest to "ignore violations of international norms."

He added that he would have preferred that the international community had taken action by now.

"Many think that something must be done but nobody wants to do it," he said. "It's tempting to leave it to others to do it."

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