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A group of senators is reportedly working on a proposal to authorize military force against Syria only if the removal of the country's chemical weapons by the United Nations failed; meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney called the preliminary chemical weapons deal between Syria and Russia "potentially a positive development" Tuesday morning.

Carney reiterated many of the key points made by President Obama in his barrage of interviews Monday, saying that pressure by the Obama administration had brought both Syria and Russia to this point:

“Let’s be clear, what we’re seeing with the Russian proposal and Syrian reaction has only come about because of the threat, the credible threat of U.S. military action,” Carney said. “Before this morning, the Syrian government had never even acknowledged they possessed chemical weapons. Now they have.” [...]

“I want to make clear [it] is something that we have been discussing with the Russians. Secretary [John] Kerry with his counterpart, Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov, and the president with President [Vladimir] Putin in St. Petersburg just on Friday,” Carney said.

The new Senate proposal is being crafted by Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Saxby Chambliss and Democrats Chuck Schumer, Bob Casey, Chris Coons, and Carl Levin. It would call for a UN team to remove Syria's chemical weapons (the ones Bashar al-Assad suggested don't really exist in his interview with Charlie Rose), and then would authorize the US to bomb if that effort failed.

Carney continued to make clear that the Obama administration won't be taking Bashar al-Assad's word for it that Syria's chemical weapons have been given up, and expressed confidence that Obama would be able to sell the American public on bombing Syria in Tuesday night's address, saying people just haven't been paying enough attention to the limited proposal for doing so. But if the Obama administration believes that the threat of force is what moved Syria to be open to giving up its chemical weapons, obviously the president will want to keep up that pressure.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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