Russia Not Buying Syria Strike Evidence

Congress 'split 5 ways' on military action

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2013 5:10 AM CDT | Updated Sep 2, 2013 7:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Russia has seen some of the evidence that the US has gathered on Syria's chemical weapons strike—and calls it "absolutely unconvincing," the AP reports. The country's foreign minister says the evidence is "not specific"—it has "no geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals." France, meanwhile, says it plans to show its own evidence of a chemical attack to lawmakers today, linking the Syrian regime to the August attack and making the case for French involvement in military action.

In other developments:

  • In the UK, where parliament rejected British involvement in military action against Syria next week, a second vote on the issue is beginning to look like a possibility. Influential London Mayor Boris Johnson has added his voice to those calling for a new vote if fresh evidence emerges, though Foreign Secretary William Hague says parliament "has spoken" and won't be asked to vote on the same issue twice, the BBC reports.
  • Among other US allies, Israeli leaders have gone silent on the issue since President Obama decided to ask Congress to support military action. The country's leaders earlier spoke strongly in favor of a strike, but now fear lobbying too hard could backfire. "It would be a mistake to overplay the Israeli interest," a former Israeli ambassador to the US tells the New York Times. "It’s bad for Israel that the average American gets it into his or her mind that boys are again sent to war for Israel. They have to be sent to war for America."
  • In Australia, meanwhile, opposition leader Tony Abbott—on course to become prime minister in next weekend's election—has caused an uproar by describing the Syrian civil war as "baddies versus baddies."
  • With eyes now on Congress, the Washington Post looks at where lawmakers stand on Syria and finds them split into 5 groups: The "do it now, already" caucus; the "want bigger military action" caucus, which includes Sen. John McCain; the "happy to debate but reserving judgement" caucus, which is the largest grouping; the skeptical caucus; and the anti-military action caucus, which is made up of a strange alliance of anti-war liberals and Tea Party conservatives.

Black smoke rises from government forces shelling in Damascus, Syria, yesterday.   (AP Photo/United media office of Arbeen)
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We've got a civil war going on in that benighted country between two pretty unsavory sides. - Australian opposition leader
Tony Abbott

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