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Momentum grows for military action against Syria

  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)

  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

  • In this image taken from amateur video posted online, appearing to show a presumed UN staff member measuring and photographing a canister in the suburb of Moadamiyeh in Damascus, Syria, Monday Aug. 26, 2013, the suburb of Damascus where the Syrian regime allegedly used deadly chemical weapons. AP could not verify the authenticity of the video, but it is consistent with Associated Press reports. U.N. experts collected samples and testimony from Syrian doctors and victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack on Monday following a treacherous journey through government and rebel-held territory during which their convoy was struck by snipers.  (AP Photo/MEDIA OFFICE OF MOADAMIYEH) TV OUT

    In this image taken from amateur video posted online, appearing to show a presumed UN staff member measuring and photographing a canister in the suburb of Moadamiyeh in Damascus, Syria, Monday Aug. 26, 2013, the suburb of Damascus where the Syrian regime allegedly used deadly chemical weapons. AP could not verify the authenticity of the video, but it is consistent with Associated Press reports. U.N. experts collected samples and testimony from Syrian doctors and victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack on Monday following a treacherous journey through government and rebel-held territory during which their convoy was struck by snipers. (AP Photo/MEDIA OFFICE OF MOADAMIYEH) TV OUT

  • Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013 after talks ahead of a national security council meeting Wednesday which will discuss possible UK involvement in using force in Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday recalled Parliament for an urgent discussion and vote on a possible military response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria. Cameron said the crisis session will be held Thursday, when Parliament would traditionally be on its summer recess. A clear motion will be considered by lawmakers, who have been urging Cameron to consult Parliament before any possible action against Syria. (AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld)  UNITED KINGDOM OUT  NO SALES  NO ARCHIVE

    Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013 after talks ahead of a national security council meeting Wednesday which will discuss possible UK involvement in using force in Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday recalled Parliament for an urgent discussion and vote on a possible military response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria. Cameron said the crisis session will be held Thursday, when Parliament would traditionally be on its summer recess. A clear motion will be considered by lawmakers, who have been urging Cameron to consult Parliament before any possible action against Syria. (AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

  • FILE - This Aug. 26, 2013 file photo shows Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia. U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Hagel said Tuesday.The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

    FILE - This Aug. 26, 2013 file photo shows Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia. U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Hagel said Tuesday.The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The head of the United Nations refugee agency is warning that Syria could be on the "verge of the abyss" as aid workers brace for a likely increase in the nearly 2 million refugees who have already fled the country's civil war. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The head of the United Nations refugee agency is warning that Syria could be on the "verge of the abyss" as aid workers brace for a likely increase in the nearly 2 million refugees who have already fled the country's civil war. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)

  • The White House is seen through a keyhole in the fence, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    The White House is seen through a keyhole in the fence, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • The White House is seen, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    The White House is seen, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference beneath a portrait of President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference beneath a portrait of President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)

  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)
  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)
  • In this image taken from amateur video posted online, appearing to show a presumed UN staff member measuring and photographing a canister in the suburb of Moadamiyeh in Damascus, Syria, Monday Aug. 26, 2013, the suburb of Damascus where the Syrian regime allegedly used deadly chemical weapons. AP could not verify the authenticity of the video, but it is consistent with Associated Press reports. U.N. experts collected samples and testimony from Syrian doctors and victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack on Monday following a treacherous journey through government and rebel-held territory during which their convoy was struck by snipers.  (AP Photo/MEDIA OFFICE OF MOADAMIYEH) TV OUT
  • Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013 after talks ahead of a national security council meeting Wednesday which will discuss possible UK involvement in using force in Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday recalled Parliament for an urgent discussion and vote on a possible military response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria. Cameron said the crisis session will be held Thursday, when Parliament would traditionally be on its summer recess. A clear motion will be considered by lawmakers, who have been urging Cameron to consult Parliament before any possible action against Syria. (AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld)  UNITED KINGDOM OUT  NO SALES  NO ARCHIVE
  • FILE - This Aug. 26, 2013 file photo shows Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia. U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Hagel said Tuesday.The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)
  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)
  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The head of the United Nations refugee agency is warning that Syria could be on the "verge of the abyss" as aid workers brace for a likely increase in the nearly 2 million refugees who have already fled the country's civil war. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
  •  French President  Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a conference with France's ambassadors, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday Aug. 27, 2013. Francois Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.(AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool)
  • The White House is seen through a keyhole in the fence, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • The White House is seen, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. Two administration officials said the U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama's response likely to follow quickly. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal deliberations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions about Syria and chemical weapons during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. The U.S. was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, however Carney stated that the president did not have a decision made about the response to announce at this time. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference beneath a portrait of President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using "all means available" in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.(AP Photo)

Momentum appeared to build yesterday for Western military action against Syria, with the United States and France saying they are in position for a strike, while the government in Damascus vowed to use all possible measures to repel it.

The prospect of a dramatic U.S.-led intervention into Syria’s civil war stemmed from the West’s assertion – still not endorsed by U.N. inspectors – that President Bashar Assad’s government was responsible for an alleged chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus last Wednesday that the group Doctors Without Borders said killed 355 people. Assad denies the claim.

The Arab League also threw its weight behind calls for punitive action, blaming the Syrian government for the attack and calling for those responsible to be brought to justice.

British Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament to hold an emergency vote tomorrow on his country’s response. It is unlikely that any international military action would begin before then.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U.S. military forces stand ready to strike Syria at once if President Obama gives the order, and French President Francois Hollande said France was “ready to punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents.”

Obama is weighing a response focused narrowly on punishing Assad for violating international agreements that ban the use of chemical weapons. Officials said the goal was not to drive Assad from power or impact the broader trajectory of Syria’s bloody civil war, now in its third year.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday the West should be under no illusion that bombing Syrian military targets would help end the violence in Syria, an ally of Moscow, and he pointed to the volatile situations in Iraq and Libya that he said resulted from foreign military intervention.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his country would use “all means available” to defend itself.

“We have the means to defend ourselves and we will surprise everyone,” he said.

At a news conference in Damascus, al-Moallem challenged Washington to present proof to back up its accusations and he also likened the allegations to false American charges in 2003 that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion of that
country.

“They have a history of lies – Iraq,” he said.

Vice President Joe Biden said there was no question that Assad was responsible for the attack – the highest-ranking U.S. official to say so – and the White House dismissed as “fanciful” the notion that anyone other than Assad could be to blame.

Where have all the left war protesters go? Did global warming wipe them out?

Just another action by our president to help boost the income of big oil companies and his Muslim brothers. No blood for oil.

I have lost count. Is this the 3rd, 4th or 5th war the Nobel Peace Prize President has put American forces in harms way. Somalia, Egypt, Yemen and U.S. troops are now fighting in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic....... you do the math. This would be the same president that did NOT allow troops to go rescue the US Ambassador in Benghazi

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