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September 02, 2013


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The way the opinion is shaping up in the Congress (especially in the House of Representatives) I begin to wonder more and more if Obama actually wants to lose the vote. Thinkprogress.org has 212 Congressmen (both Democrat and Republican) either currently opposed or leaning towards voting no to such a resolution as opposed to just 43 or 44 who currently back such strikes or are leaning towards voting yes to such a resolution. That's almost 49% leaning towards voting no, only 10% leaning towards voting yes and 41% definitely undecided. That doesn't look good in terms of getting the resolution approved.

Even the Washington Post (103 "no" + 102 "leaning no" vs 24 "yes") and CNN (109 "no" vs. 23 "yes") are in agreement that getting the resolution through will be "an uphill battle" as it has been termed in the media recently.

I'm really starting to wonder if Cameron, Obama and Hollande haven't played a fairly good game of threatening strikes but ensuring no strikes would happen:

- Cameron loses a motion (which in theory was no big deal since it wasn't even a bill, but as the first prime minister to lose any vote on the use of military force since Lord North in 1782 it was a major embarrassment). And quite suddenly the UK took itself out of any possible action, not even so much as committing itself to explore the possibility down the line

- Obama's administration talks up a US strike and even the possibility of the US doing it by itself and then Obama punts the issue to Congress to have a vote on it....after the Congress reconvenes from a recess

- Hollande commits France to striking Syria...but only only in conjunction with the United States. Hollande also brings the issue up for debate before the French National Assembly (even though he clearly has no legal requirement to do so)

It's getting very easy to imagine a split vote in Congress (the Senate voting yes and the House voting no) leading to Obama deciding to "hold off" on the airstrikes...which then leads to Hollande having a get-out-of-jail free card even if the French National Assembly were to support French airstrikes since Hollande had already qualified his commitment by saying France would join in with US airstrikes, not strike Syria alone.

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