US President Barack Obama is considering unilateral action against the Syrian regime, despite US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel saying during his trip in Southeast Asia that the United States’ goal is “to find an international coalition that will act together.” The United Kingdom declined to join in a proposed limited strike operation against Syria after a contested parliamentary vote in the UK House of Commons. French President Francois Hollande said that “France will be a part of it [the coalition]. France is ready.” Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a local newspaper that “participation [in strikes on Syria] has not been sought nor is it being considered.” Non-US Western powers have signaled a preference to wait for the UN inspectors to conclude their report before deciding whether or not to act militarily. As a fifth American destroyer entered the Mediterranean, the Obama administration’s national security team briefed members of Congress during a ninety-minute conference call. The White House did not outline a timetable for a Syrian strike during the briefing.

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Aim of US Attack: Restore a ‘Red Line’ That Became Blurred (NYT)
The goal of the cruise missile strikes the United States is planning to carry out in Syria is to restore the smudged “red line” that President Obama drew a year ago against the use of poison gas. But the military strategy that the Obama administration is considering is not linked to its larger diplomatic strategy of persuading President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to yield power and support negotiations that would end the bloody civil war.

White House Offers Hill No Timetable on Syria (Politico)
The White House told congressional leaders that President Obama is still “weighing his options on Syria.” Congressional members pressed the administration on multiple issues, including funding for the operation, after Obama’s national security team laid out its intelligence to show that Syria’s government was behind the August 21st chemical attack.

Syrian Army Moves Scud Missiles to Avoid Strike (Reuters)
Bashar al-Assad’s forces have removed several Scud missiles and dozens of launchers from a base north of Damascus, possibly to protect the weapons from a Western attack. This appears a precautionary but limited redeployment of armaments in areas of central Syria still held by Assad’s forces.

US Military Officers Have Deep Doubts about Impact, Wisdom of US Strike on Syria (Washington Post)
Many in the US military are concerned about a potential strike against Syria, especially the “potential unintended consequences.” Some officers are unsure the White House has a “coherent strategy.” 

Syria’s Close Allies Debate Response (Wall Street Journal)
Iran and Hezbollah are deciding whether or not to retaliate should a strike on Syria occur. Discussions include if attacks on Western interests should be done “openly or covertly and through proxies.” Some considerations include using long-range missiles against Israel, American warships, or military bases in the region.

Unclassified Syria Briefing Exposes Rifts Among Key Lawmakers (The Hill)
Members of Congress left the call with differing opinions as to the efficacy of President Obama’s rationale for striking Syria. Lawmakers on the call included Speaker Rep. John Boehner, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez, and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon.

Wesley Clark: Syria vs. Kosovo (USA Today)
Gen. Wesley Clark, USA, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, gives his take on the lessons learned from Kosovo and how they do and do not apply to the Syrian crisis.

NBC poll: Americans skeptical of U.S. intervention in Syria (NBC)
The two-day poll was conducted as the Obama administration weighs launching strikes against Syria for the alleged use of chemicals weapons in its violent civil war, as well as amid growing demands by U.S. lawmakers that Congress should have a voice in any debate to authorize force.