A top White House official said on Sunday that the US has enough international support for a military strike against Syria,though America lacks firm commitment on military personnel or equipment from any other country for action against the Bashar al-Assad regime.
“We do have plenty of friends who are standing with us,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough told CNN in an interview.
“We’ve got commitments from,as you saw in the statement and as you’ve seen in a series of statements since,including yesterday out of Brussels where the EU came out and said that the Syrian government should be held to account,” he said.
McDonough made rounds of a number of Sunday television talk shows,making a strong pitch for a US military strike as the US House of Representatives and the Senate prepares to decide on the White House request for a Congressional authorisation of a military strike against Syria.
“Let me just put this to rest. No,we have no firm commitments for military personnel or military equipment from any other country,” said White House Chief of Staff.
McDonough said the US is interested in what the UN inspectors have to say.
“So it could be interesting corroborative information to what we already know and what I’ve just indicated to you everybody whom I speak with has indicated to me they believe,which is he used chemical weapons in August against his own people,” he said.
However,given the stance of several of American allies to wait for the UN report,McDonough said that the White House has indicated to its friends that it will continue to work with them and see what comes out of New York.
McDonough refuted reports that the US would work with the part of the Syrian opposition that has al-Qaeda elements in it.
“I’m outraged for somebody to suggest that our people would be serving as allies to al-Qaeda,” he said.
“Targeted consequential,limited attack against Assad forces and Assad capabilities so that he is deterred from carrying out these actions again,” said McDonough.
“Here’s what it is not. It is not boots on the ground. It is not an extended air campaign. It is not Iraq,Afghanistan or Libya. This is a very concerted,concentrated,limited effort that we can carry out and that can underscore and secure our interests,” he said.
McDonough said that the Obama administration is right now focused on Washington and trying to get congressional support for action against Syria.
“We are investing a lot of time and effort in this because we think Congress should be a full partner in our national security matters,and when they are,we’re stronger as a country,” said McDonough.
“Members of Congress also need to understand that if they want to see Assad held to account for this activity,they should vote yes on the resolution,” he added.