Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez, indicated that the Senate may vote on a Syrian war resolution as early as Sept 4. Menendez made the remarks on the evening of Sept 3 at the end of Senate hearings on Syria.
The Senator suggested a resolution would be worded to ensure no open ended intervention, limit the scale of the response and would preclude any 'boots on the ground'. One provision would set a 60 day limit, with an option for a 30 day extension if requested, though subject to conditions.
The hearing saw lobbying to support Pres. Barack Obama's war initiative by Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel, Sec. of State John Kerry and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
Gen. Dempsey openly acknowledged for the first time that the mission would entail degrading the military capabilities of Syrian forces loyal to Pres. Bashar al-Assad. This is an expansion of the mission from the original purpose of striking Syrian WMD and delivery vehicles only.
Dempsey acknowledged that Russia may well act to replenish Syrian equipment destroyed in US strikes. The confirmation is no surprise as media reports from Russ and the Middle East have carried assurance from Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin that previously signed military aide deals to Syria will continue as before.
Sec. of State Kerry appeared to waffle on the question of whether or not American troops would or could be sent into Syria, finally saying that Pres. Obama was neither proposing nor closing the door on doing so.
Kerry also reiterated that Western intelligence has indicated that Pres. Assad's chain of command gave the order to make the chemical attacks. German intelligence service BND has now confirmed monitoring a phone call from a Hezbollah official in Lebanon to the Iranian Embassy indicating that Pres. Assad 'panicked' as the rebels were drawing closer to the center of Damascus and closer to his compound.
Pres. Obama has won support from Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner for a Syria resolution. However, Speaker Boehner does not have firm support from the House GOP Caucus for such a resolution and it is very questionable at this point whether he can ever obtain it. House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi also affirmed her support for the resolution, saying Assad had "crossed the line".
Pres. Obama has also won support for a strike from Jewish groups; American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). A development which though a chip in Pres. Obama's favor will no doubt be used by propagandists in the Assad regime; and some prominent American Libertarians opposed to foreign interaction of any kind beyond American borders.
Aside from war wariness over Iraq and Afghanistan, two other issues are propelling the deep division among the American public and Congressional leaders alike on Syria. One is the simple mistrust for an American President of the usually anti-war Democrat Party who campaigned in 2008 on slogans such as 'Bush Lied, People Died!'
Second, is simply the riddle wrapped in an enigma that is the Syrian rebels. A majority of Americans firmly believe Syrian rebels are to the last man, entirely al-Qaeda and that the rebellion itself was inspired entirely by al-Qaeda. There are also prominent Libertarian politicians echoing the Assad regime's propaganda that Syria's misfortunes are entirely a 'Neocon/Jewish plot'.
The fact remains however, that either a victorious Assad, or a victorious Islamist rebellion are each equally dangerous, since both sides are determined to destroy Israel. The additional aspect of WMD expands that danger well beyond Syrian borders. Pres. Assad is the current mentor of Hezbollah in Lebanon; a terror army with many thousands of rockets already pointed at Israel.
An Islamist victory could well see Hezbollah destroyed and replaced by Syrian Islamists or perhaps co-opted into fighting for them and be far less timid towards Israel than Hezbollah has been in recent years.