U.S. contemplates ‘discrete and limited’ action in Syria

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The White House has said that the U.S. is contemplating “discrete and limited” action in Syria and rejected comparisons to the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq.

The United States reportedly “appreciates” words from senior leaders in British government in Syria but the White House said it can make its own foreign policy decisions.

The United States has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The initial wave of outrage over chemical weapons attacks in Syria has started to subside and as plans for a military response proceeds, seeds of doubt are emerging as support for a punitive strike is not universal.

The Obama administration has rejected any claims that there are links to be drawn between U.S. plans for Syria and George W. Bush's long-running war in Iraq that was justified on claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

However, at the same time, the White House has suggested that it may work to enforce an international ban on chemical weapons to protect U.S. national security interests.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama's potential response to Syria's chemical weapons attack contrasts with the Iraq experience.

“What we're talking about here is something very discrete and limited,” he said, and not an open-ended conflict aimed at regime change.

Earnest noted that a variety of world leaders and organizations such as the Arab League have voiced outrage at the chemical weapons attack and want a response.

“The opinion of other world leaders in this situation matters,” he said.

Concerning the need to provide a legal justification for any form of intervention in Syria, Earnest was clear about White House intentions.

“When the president reaches a determination about the appropriate response ... and a legal justification is required to substantiate or to back up that decision, we'll produce one on our own,” he said.

Senior U.S. officials are to brief congressional leaders later on Thursday in an unclassified session.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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