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Issues Test President's Persuasion, Mobilizing Skills

Updated: Monday, September 9 2013, 09:58 AM EDT

The issues confronting President Barack Obama over the coming weeks will test his powers of persuasion and his mobilizing skills more than at any other time in his presidency.

How well Obama handles the tasks could determine whether he leads the nation from a position of strength or whether he becomes a lame duck one year into his first term.

Between now and the end of October, Obama must persuade wary lawmakers to grant him authority to take military action against Syria. He also must engage Congress in an economy-rattling debate over spending and the nation's borrowing limit, and oversee a crucial step in putting his health care law in place.

The Syria vote looms as his first, biggest and perhaps most defining challenge.
AP-WF-09-08-13 1107GMT

Issues Test President's Persuasion, Mobilizing Skills

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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.

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