The Cable reports: The Senate voted 92-6 today to require the Pentagon to report on options for using U.S. military assets to degrade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to use air power against his own people.
The amendment, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), gives the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta 90 days after the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act to report back to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on military options in Syria. The principle purpose of the legislation is “to advance the goals of President Obama of stopping the killing of civilians in Syria and creating conditions for a transition to a democratic, pluralistic, political system in Syria.”
The resolution does not explicitly call for the Assad to step down in Syria, a matter of contention when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Syria earlier this year. It also explicitly does not authorize the use of military force in Syria.
The legislation does say that any U.S. military activity with regard to Syria should be done in conjunction with allies, should not involve U.S. boots on the ground, and should minimize the risk to U.S. forces as well as financial costs to U.S. taxpayers.