Tags: Syria | aipac | lobbying | blitz | syria

AIPAC to Launch Lobbying Blitz on Syria

Friday, 06 Sep 2013 11:14 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, is planning a major campaign push next week to convince lawmakers to back President Barack Obama's call for military action against Syria.

Some 250 Jewish leaders and pro-Israel activists plan to descend on Capitol Hill to tell Senate and House members that they must support the use of force resolution the president has requested or risk encouraging Iran to build a nuclear weapon, reports Politico.

"History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression," a AIPAC source told Politico, adding that the lobbying effort will emphasize that "barbarism" by the Bashar Assad regime in Syria cannot be tolerated and that not responding to it would "send a message"" to Tehran that the U.S. and its allies won't stand up to other countries' that move to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Jewish donors tied to AIPAC have reportedly been lobbying the Senate's top two GOP leaders already — Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.

McConnell has not yet announced his position on the issue. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was voting Wednesday to authorize U.S. airstrikes in Syria, he was back home telling constituents he has yet to make up his mind.

According to the Washington Examiner, McConnell told the Bowling Green Rotary Club, "Certainly we need to be careful about doing it. I don't think anybody supports putting any American military personnel there at all. So then that leaves you the question of what kind of impact can you have short of boots on the ground?"

Cornyn, meanwhile, told an Austin TV station earlier this week that he needs a lot more information from the from the Obama administration before he makes up his mind. He said the case for a U.S. military strike "has not been made yet."

"I am very concerned. At least so far, I haven't heard a plan that I can support," he said, adding that he is "willing to take the President up on his offer to have this conversation to review the classified intelligence and to make an informed decision."

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