US President Barack Obama will hold interviews Monday with six major US TV networks in another push to make the case to the US public for a military strike on Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, the White House said on Saturday.
Obama, who just returned Friday night from a G20 summit in Russia, will tape his interviews with anchors of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and Fox News, according to the White House. Those TV networks will air the interviews on Monday night ahead of a planned televised speech to the nation that Obama will make from the White House on Tuesday, in another push to win support for his military plan on Syria.
Obama announced on Aug 31 that he decided to launch a limited military strike against Syria, but will first seek congressional authorisation for the action, which he argues is aimed at punishing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for perpetrating a chemical weapons attack on Aug 21 outside Damascus. The attack the US claims killed 1,429 people, including 426 children, Xinhua reported.
However, Obama is facing an uphill battle in both chambers of Congress as public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that most Americans are against military intervention in Syria and many traditional allies, such as the United Kingdom, have refused to join the United States in the action. It is expected that Obama can garner enough support from the Democrat-controlled Senate after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Wednesday a resolution on authorising limited US military action against Syria, thanks to the support of several hawks from the Republican Party.
The full house of the Senate is to hold a heated debate and a vote on the resolution in the week of Sept. 9 after it returns from the summer break. But the real test for Obama will be in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, where many Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to the military strike against Syria despite the rare calls for support to Obama from Republican Speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor.