The White House says it will “go forward” tonight with a national appeal for support for a military strike against Syria for its use of chemical weapons — even with word from Syria today that it will accept the notion of relinquishing control of those weapons.
“We see this as potentially a positive development,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this morning, making an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” outside the White House. “And we see this as a result of the pressure that has been put on Syria.”
“He will go forward tonight,” Carney said of the president’s plans for a nationally televised address at 9 pm EDT making the case for U.S. military action. “The president does believe that we need to take action.”
Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggestion yesterday that Syria could avert the problem by yielding control of its weapons, Russia quickly embraced that idea and France has said it will take such a resolution to confiscate those weapons to the United Nations Security Council. Interfax reports that the Syrian government has accepted the proposition.
While remaining skeptical of these steps, the White House is attempting to take some credit for them.
“What we’re seeing with the Russian proposal and the Syrian reaction has only come about because of the threat” of U.S. action, he said, noting that, for the first time, the Syrian government has acknowledged the possession of chemical weapons. “This is the byproduct of the push for action this president has led.”
“We need to make sure beforehand that the Syrians are actually serious,” Carney said. “There is ample reason to be skeptical.”
Yet “it is the credible threat of action by the United States that has brought about this potential diplomatic breakthrough,” he said.