Globe Trot
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, right, arrive for a closed-door intelligence briefing for members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, right, arrive for a closed-door intelligence briefing for members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Globe Trot: Drumbeats of war get louder on Capitol Hill

International

Secretary of State John Kerry spent more than 3 ½ hours yesterday on Capitol Hill making his case for going to war with Syria before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he used to chair. Hearings in the House begin today.

The committee made a deal Tuesday evening that would set a 60-day deadline for military action in Syria, with one 30-day extension possible, according to a draft of the resolution.

With the House’s leading Republicans—Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor—now saying they’ll support President Barack Obama, momentum is building to authorize a war. (Did I just say that?)

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As Stratfor and others report, taking on the Assad regime will be no cakewalk: The population of Syria is 10 times the population of Kosovo, for example, and President Bashar al-Assad’s air defense network is twice the size of Libya’s prior to the 2011 NATO intervention.

Reports that rebels may have launched the Aug. 21 gas attack in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, persist. Some conservative media outlets went after Dale Gavlak over her reporting, which she clarified while standing by interviews with Ghouta residents who claim rebels stockpiled gas canisters from Saudi Arabia in tunnels. We’ve been told Gavlak is a veteran reporter with a good reputation and “a strong Christian” by U.S. religious liberty advocates.

In going to war on the side of Syrian rebels at this time, the United States has chosen to overlook previous atrocities including gas attacks, a humanitarian crisis that’s likely to worsen with a U.S. strike, and pleas from global Christian leaders about the effect U.S. action will have on Syria’s Christians. Barnabas Fund’s Patrick Sookhdeo told me this week: “It’s notable that the West has said nothing to the rebels about allowing humanitarian and relief into these areas [like Aleppo]. The United States, unlike in any other crisis like this in my memory, is silent on humanitarian aid.”

Among Arabs in the region, President Obama is gaining a reputation as Greta Garbo.

In Venezuela, a power outage left 70 percent of the country without electricity.

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Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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