By Elise Labott
As President Barack Obama insisted he has made no decision on how to respond to Syria, behind the scenes American officials insisted Wednesday that ultimately the president will decide on his own timeline, dismissing the notion that maneuvers in the United Nations and British Parliament suggest a longer-term horizon before any cohesive response.
“We can’t wait, we need to act according to our own national interests,” said one senior U.S. official. While the official noted the president has not made any decisions yet, “this is moving quickly.”
The British Parliament is set Thursday to consider a resolution that calls for no military action before the United Nations Security Council considers a report from weapons inspectors who are still in Syria and who are expected to be there for several more days.
“Why do we need to wait for a UN report to tell us what we already know,” said a second senior U.S. official. Any decision to respond would not wait for UN inspectors, he said, noting the United States has told the UN it is not safe to be there. But “if they are there, it is not going to stop us.” Targets would not be in areas where inspectors are located.
The US, said the second senior US official, is “dead set against” seeking any vote in the Security Council. “There won’t be any more meetings.”
The official added that the Obama administration is not happy about the latest demands by the British.
The United States doesn’t want the UN or Russia to use inspectors as a stalling tactic, the officials said.
Both officials said the declassified version of the intelligence report on Syria could be made public Thursday.