Saudi Arabia called Sunday for international action in Syria.

“The Syrian regime has crossed all the lines with its tyranny. … It’s time for us to ask International community to carry its responsibility and put an end to this tragedy that is entering its third year,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

“The Syrian regime has lost its legitimacy within the Arab world and internationally,” he said.

The Saudi stance came as the Obama administration pushed forward Sunday on a new path toward military action in Syria, urging Congress to support the president’s call.

Announcing that evidence collected independently of a United Nations probe shows Syria used sarin gas in an attack on its people, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has to act.

“If you don’t do it, you send a message of impunity,” he said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Unio n.” Read the story here.

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Over the last several days, members of Congress have spoken out with a variety of opinions about U.S. policy towards Syria, but lawmakers were in broad agreement about one thing: they wanted President Obama to engage Congress on the use of military force. Few expected the White House to take the requests too seriously.

Why not? Because over the last several decades, presidents in both parties have increasingly consolidated authority over national security matters, tilting practically all power over the use of force towards the Oval Office and away from the legislative branch. Whereas the Constitution and the War Powers Act intended to serve as checks on presidential authority on military intervention abroad, there’s been a gradual (ahem) drift away from these institutional norms.


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War crimes and punishment

Bell Book Candle

I believe that the US should seek a UN-sponsored solution to Syria‘s use of chemical weapons. If a trial of Assad is warranted for war crimes, then he should be indicted and tried. If Assad will not surrender to a trial, a UN-authorized raid under US leadership would follow to bring Assad to justice. The raid would be a multi-national version of the raid that killed bin Laden. I realize that a larger raid would be necessary and it could be costly in western lives, but that would be better than lobbing a few cruise missiles at targets in Syria that killed more civilians. After the Assad trial if he is found guilty and is punished, the UN should sponsor a peace conference to which all sides in Syria are invited.

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