The Senate Foreign Relations committee is in the process of marking up its version of a resolution for the authorization of force in Syria that would be scheduled to go to the senate floor for a vote on Monday. The original proposal was for a resolution putting a number of restrictions on the president's power to take action, including an explicit prohibition of boots on the ground. McCain has been pushing for stronger language. The Guardian's live blog is reporting that he has succeeded.
Two amendments presented by John McCain to the Syrian war resolution have just passed the committee by voice vote, Dan Roberts reports.This is clearly the language of regime change. McCain has stated that he has the president's support for his amendments. The original strategy of the Democratic leadership in the senate had been to go for a limited resolution in hopes of attracting a maximum vote count. Is this now going to complicate that?
The changes would seem to expand – perhaps significantly – the scope of the prospective American military campaign. In particular the second amendment flatly states "It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria."
That doesn't sound like "limited," "tailored" strikes.
The first amendment adds language that "absent decisive change to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria, sufficient incentives do not yet exist" to topple Assad.
The second amendment adds two paragraphs to the resolution:
(a) It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.
(b) A comprehensive US strategy in Syria should aim, as part of a coordinated international effort, to degrade the capabilities of the Assad regime to use weapons of mass destruction while upgrading the lethal and non-lethal military capabilities of vetted elements of Syrian opposition forces, including the Free Syrian Army.