Senate’s Plan B: Make Assad Sign Chemical Weapons Ban, Or Else

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Don't you dare make us fight over attacking you again. Photo: JOSEPH EID/2010 AFP

While President Obama insists that Bashar al-Assad already violated international norms and must be punished, an alternative resolution being circulated by two moderate Democratic senators would give the Syrian president one more chance to stop using chemical weapons, and give lawmakers who are undecided on the use of force another option. Politico reports that the proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp would give Assad 45 days to sign an international chemical weapons ban. If he fails to do so, all "elements of national power will be considered by the United States government."

Aides tell the Washington Post that the delay is meant to compel President Obama to gather more support for military action at home and abroad. The draft stipulates:

“Not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, the President shall submit to Congress a long term strategy for Syria, while concurrently using all appropriate diplomatic tools to develop and secure commitments from the international community with the shared strategic interest of preventing the proliferation and use of Syria’s chemical weapons.”

In its current form, the draft doesn't elaborate on the consequences for Assad should he refuse, or how they might differ from the military strike currently under consideration.