– AIPAC Comes Out For Strike On Syria – And Mentions Iran More Often Than Syria
– New York Times Scraps AIPAC From Syria Story (Politico)
– Obama And Israel (And AIPAC), Together At Last (Bloomberg)
– Syria civil war: Barack Obama tries to rally waverers ahead of Congress vote on US strikes (Independent, Sep 8, 2013):
Videos of gas victims deployed along with a media campaign and proxies to persuade public to back Syria military action
Facing the most perilous passage of his presidency, Barack Obama is to redouble his efforts to persuade a sceptical US Congress and American public to back strikes against Syria.
The President and his team are using a variety of methods to convince his opponents – among them videos of squirming gas victims, an Oval Office address and deploying myriad surrogates to speak on his behalf.
The task has in recent days become more daunting. Members of Congress return to Washington on Monday after mostly being besieged by their constituents to vote against action. Getting an authorising resolution through the Senate looks difficult; prospects of passage by the House look even tighter, with more than 200 members already indicating their opposition.
What happens on Capitol Hill in the next days may determine whether missiles aimed at Syria are fired and also shape the legacy of Mr Obama, whose authority, at home and abroad, is surely on the line. While the President could theoretically ignore a “no” vote in Congress and order strikes anyway, to do so would almost surely elicit an impeachment effort by conservative and Tea Party Republicans.
To his critics, Mr Obama has only himself to blame for the predicament. “This is an unmitigated disaster. It’s amateur hour at the White House,” Karl Rove, the former Bush aide, declared last night. “If he gets the authority it shows that he’s not a lame duck,” said John Feehery, a former House Republican leadership aide. “If he doesn’t get the authority, it’s devastating.”
Denis McDonough, the Chief of Staff, played down the political stakes. “The President is not interested in the politics of this,” he said. Mr Obama will undertake some of the “heavy lifting”, as the White House now calls it, himself, sitting down with all the major networks and news cable channels on Monday to make his case before his Oval Office address on Tuesday.
But he will not be alone. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has plans to swarm Capitol Hill tomorrow with 250 lobbyists to urge members of Congress to support strikes.
Israel’s Ynet news agency on Sunday evening quoted senior Israelis close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that in recent days he has spoken with members of congress and figures in the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, the lobbying group, to explain to them the importance of an American military action against the Assad regime.