/ Modified sep 4, 2013 7:41 a.m.

AZ Delegation Members: One No, Others Undecided on Syria

Grijalva opposes military attack; other House members and Flake waiting; McCain gives qualified yes.



Most members of Arizona's congressional delegation questioned say they are undecided on whether the United States should take military action against Syria.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva said Tuesday he opposes President Barack Obama's request to authorize the attack. Obama proposed it after he and members of his administration said there is convincing evidence that the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in an attack Aug. 21.

Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain said after a meeting with Obama this week that he tentatively favors military action. But he said Tuesday he was opposed to a Senate resolution because of its limits: no more than 90 days for attacks and no U.S. troops on the ground.

Among others in Arizona's delegation, U.S. Reps. Ron Barber, a Democrat, said he is undecided, and Paul Gosar and David Schweikert, both Republicans, said they were leaning toward opposition. Sen. Jeff Flake, also a Republican, told the AP he is still listening to the administration's argument.

Grijalva commended the president for asking Congress for consent but said he disagreed with the proposal for limited military action.

“It doesn’t change the fact that I think it’s strategically a wrong move on the part of the administration,” Grijalva said.

Grijalva said the United States is already involved in military operations in a “volatile” Middle East region, and what is needed is international pressure to break the Assad regime.

“China and Russia are covering for Syria in the United Nations,” Grijalva said, and should be asked if they “support this criminality or not.”

Grijalva said he believes a resolution through the UN, and a combined international effort of sanctions would be the best approach to the situation.

“Syria violated an important treaty and protocol from 1925 that banned chemical weapons. They’re war criminals as far as I’m concerned,” Grijalva said.

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