Obama Asks Congress to Delay Syria Vote

In an address to the nation on Tuesday evening, President Obama said he’s asked Congress “to postpone” a vote on authorizing a limited military strike on Syria in order to give diplomats time to advance an initiative to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles. In the last several days, there have been “some encouraging signs,” in part because of “the credible threat of US military action,” he said. The Russian government, he said, “has indicated a willingness to join with the international community” in pushing Bashar al Assad’s regime to give up its chemical weapons. “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments,” said Obama during the Sept. 10 address from the White House’s East Room. “But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies,” he said. In the meantime, Obama said he’s ordered the US military to maintain its current posture “to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails.” (Obama transcript and video of address)