White House Tries To Sway War-Weary Public
President Barack Obama is hitting the airwaves to try to convince war-weary Americans that strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad are needed for the United States' long-term safety.
Reluctant lawmakers are expecting to hear from top administration officials Monday as the White House makes its case for limited military strikes. Officials are already telling lawmakers and the public that any action against Syria would not be like the open-ended commitments the United States made in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Obama plans to make that case directly in six television interviews Monday and a rare primetime speech Tuesday.
Lawmakers, who remain skeptical, could start voting as early as Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Assad has told American journalist Charlie Rose that the U.S. military has a poor track record in the Middle East.
Syrian army attacks hills around Christian village
BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian activist group says the army is attacking hills overlooking a rebel-held Christian-majority village near the capital Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says fighters from the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra or Nusra Front and the Qalamon Liberation Front still control Maaloula, an ancient village that is home to two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, said troops attacked the hills around Maaloula early Monday under the cover of heavy shelling.
Rebels captured the village on Saturday. The battle has thrown a spotlight on the deep-seated fears that many of Syria's religious minorities harbor about the growing role of Islamic extremists on the rebel side in Syria's civil war.
Syria adds to Congress' already heavy fall agenda
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress' September agenda already was destined to be tense and dramatic. Now lawmakers are ending their five-week recess by plunging into an emotional debate over whether to launch a missile strike against Syria.
That will leave them even less time to meet looming deadlines on budget problems that have been building for months. Meanwhile, the once fiercely debated immigration bill has moved to Washington's back burner.
No member of Congress is in a tighter spot than House Speaker John Boehner. He risks seeing most of his Republican colleagues vote against him on several major issues.
Boehner supports bombing Syria. He wants to avoid a government shutdown and default in the budget negotiations. He also wants a new immigration law this year. All these may prove difficult.