YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Watch live: Obama addresses the nation on Syria

September 10, 2013|By Morgan Little

President Obama is scheduled to address the nation at 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday to explain his administration’s response to a reported chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Although the speech was originally planned to sell the idea of punitive military strikes to a skeptical American public, Obama now finds himself having to explain his decision to also pursue a diplomatic alternative.

Prompted by an offhand comment by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Russia suggested Monday that Syria should hand its chemical weapons over to the international community to be destroyed. Syria accepted the proposal, based on the assumption that it could avert U.S. airstrikes.

Obama called the proposal “a potentially significant breakthrough” and announced Tuesday that he would work with allies to explore the feasibility of the deal. But as diplomats from Paris, Damascus, Moscow and Washington worked through the details, they were already facing  difficulties in crafting a workable plan.

The White House has faced an uphill battle to win backing for military action. Since announcing that he would request congressional authorization, representatives in both parties have declared their opposition, with anti-war Democrats finding unlikely allies among Republicans critical of Obama’s plans.

And the American public’s support for the use of force has declined, with new polling showing that 72% believe it wouldn’t achieve significant goals, and a 59% saying Congress should deny Obama authorization.

Kerry told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the threat of U.S. strikes is the only reason that diplomatic proposals are being considered and asked Congress to maintain the pressure by providing the authorization Obama has requested.

The administration’s first priority is diplomacy, Kerry said,  “We’re not waiting for long.”

Watch Obama’s speech live above, and keep up with World Now for continuing coverage of the debate over intervention in Syria.


Syria accepts Russian disarmament plan

Obama speech unlikely to sway U.S. opinion

Syria deal a potential breakthrough, Obama says

Los Angeles Times Articles