AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action

Pro-Israel lobby says 250 activists will meet with their senators and representatives in Washington in a bid to win support Congressional support for military action in Syria.

The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes.

“We plan a major lobbying effort with about 250 activists in Washington to meet with their senators and representatives,” an AIPAC source said on Saturday.

Congressional aides said they expected the meetings and calls on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and officials from his administration make their case for missile strikes over the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

The vote on action in Syria is a significant political test for Obama and a major push by AIPAC, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, could provide a boost.

The U.S. Senate is due to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force as early as Wednesday. Leaders of the House of Representatives have not yet said when they would vote beyond saying consideration of an authorization is “possible” sometime this week.

Obama has asked Congress to approve strikes against Assad’s government in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians.

But many Republicans and several of Obama’s fellow Democrats have not been enthused about the prospect, partly because war-weary Americans strongly oppose getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict.

Pro-Israel groups had largely kept a low profile on Syria as the Obama administration sought to build its case for limited strikes after last month’s attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus.

Supporters of the groups and government sources acknowledged they had made it known that they supported U.S. action, concerned about instability in neighboring Syria and what message inaction might send to Assad’s ally, Iran.

But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war.



4 replies

  1. @Rafiq A. Tschannen; Your first simplistic, sarcastic statement without any explanation of what you actually think the ‘Syrian War’ is about reveals much about your prejudices. Perhaps you could give us the benefit of your precise opinion about what the war actually is about instead. Lay it all out on the table, as we’d say here in the US. Regarding to your second, simplistic sarcastic statement, I have written my congressional representative to tell him I oppose any US military action in Syria. That, Sir, is democracy in action.

    • Mr. Adams. Thank you for writing to your congressional representative to tell him that you oppose military action in Syria. We do appreciate this way of democracy in action. What I think of the Syrian war? Ah, yes, difficult to give you a brief description in a ‘commentary’ column. It is horrible, most horrible from all angles. Bashar Assad is bad, but so are all the alternatives that are presented at the moment. Do we want Al Qaeeda instead? And when did ever a bombing spree help in the peace? What gets on my nerves are the lies of the politicians. Kerry compares the possible future bombing of Syria with Kosovo. Kosovo was a kindergarten compared to Syria. There were two groups, Albanian speaking Kosovars on one side and Serbs on the other. They just needed to be separated. (The bombing permitted the Serbs to burn thousands of Albanian homes and kill thousands of Kosovars. If ‘feet on the ground’ would have been used that could have been avoided, but one US life is worth thousands of foreign ones after all). What is happening in Syria is that the US and Israel want to destroy the country, because they are Iran’s friend. Mission accomplished, why bomb further? It is not clear at all that the Chemical attack originated from the regime. Why should they do it? They only have to loose. The opposition gains. There are reports that Qatar paid for it and the opposition carried it out, with the help of US / British ‘defense contractors’ (see Daily Mail article from January 2013). Yes, I am allergic to politicians lies. Do you remember in the first Gulf War how the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UN said she was a Kuwaiti nurse and saw Iraqi soldiers remove incubators throwing the babies on the floor? Later on it was proved that she never was in Kuwait during the period (and was no nurse). Nobody cares because the lie served its purpose. Same with the Chemical attack now. Again: yes, it is a mess. US (further) involvement makes the mess worse not better. (Other reports tell us that CIA and MOSSAD agents in Homs in the early days of the uprising taught the Syrian opposition how to evolve from a peaceful demonstration to a military one…). Therefore, please, readers surf the net with an open mind.

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