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Syria crisis: ‘I didn’t join Navy to fight for al Qaeda in Syrian civil war’ photo goes viral

  • Photo of sailor, who bears the insignia of a Chief Petty Officer, was posted online on August 31
  • Hundreds of protesters take to the streets in a stand against military action as Obama attempts to persuade Congress to launch strike on Syria

By
Daily Mail Reporter


PUBLISHED:

14:15 GMT, 2 September 2013


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UPDATED:

15:27 GMT, 2 September 2013

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As the U.S. teeters on the brink of launching a military strike on Syria, a provocative photo of a Navy officer appeared online, capturing the mood of deep concern among many Americans over the Obama administration’s plans.

The picture of an unidentified man, believed to be a Navy officer, has swept the web after he appeared in full regalia while covering his face with a sign which read: ‘I didn’t join the Navy to fight for al Qaeda in a Syrian civil war!’

It has not been verified whether the man is an actual U.S. Navy officer – although his uniform does bear the insignia of a ranking serviceman.

Fighting talk: An unidentified man, believed to be a U.S. Navy Officer, offered this message on the deepening crisis in Syria as the U.S. comes closer to military intervention

Fighting talk: An unidentified man, believed to be a U.S. Navy Officer, offered this message on the deepening crisis in Syria as the U.S. comes closer to military intervention

The badge on the left arm appears to be that of a Chief Petty Officer.

The image appeared on zerohedge.com, a website dedicated to ‘liberating oppressed knowledge’, according to their mission statement.

The picture was posted on the site on August 31 by a user taking the name ‘Tyler Durden’, a character from the movie Fight Club.

The photo appeared with the words: ‘Presented with no comment…whether or not this is a real member of the US armed forces is unknown but we suspect it sums up many of their perspectives as Obama punts to Congress.

Since the image appeared online, it has been re-tweeted hundreds of times and shared thousands of times on Facebook.

The picture is indicative of a mood of discontent building in the U.S. as President Obama and his top aides launch a
full-scale political offensive to persuade a skeptical
Congress to approve a military strike against Syria.

The administration faces an uphill
struggle to win over lawmakers from both parties and a war-weary
American public.

Demonstrators are directed by a police officer in front of the White House during a rally against a possible US attack on Syria, in Washington, DC on Saturday

Demonstrators are directed by a police officer in front of the White House during a rally against a possible US attack on Syria, in Washington, DC on Saturday

Call for action: Protesters demanding military action shout over those opposing it at joint rallies in Washington DC on Sunday

Call for action: Protesters demanding military action shout over those opposing it at joint rallies in Washington DC on Sunday

Split: Protesters for and against military action confront each other outside the White House

Split: Protesters for and against military action confront each other outside the White House

Crisis talks: President Obama and Vice-President Biden meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice to discuss Syria on Sunday

Crisis talks: President Obama and Vice-President Biden meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice to discuss Syria on Sunday

The President made calls to members of the House of Representatives and Senate, with more scheduled for today, underscoring the task confronting the administration before it can go ahead with using force in response to a deadly chemical attack blamed on the Syrian government.

SUMMER OF DISCONTENT: AMERICA DIVIDED OVER MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

Protesters across the country took to the streets this weekend for and against a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria.

In Houston, Texas, which has a large Syrian-American population, about 100 people lined up on opposite sides of a street in an upscale neighborhood to express opposing views on a possible U.S. attack.

‘We want any kind of action. The world has stood silently and it’s been too long. Something needs to be done,’ said Tamer Barazi, a 23-year-old civil engineer who carried a Syrian flag and a sign – ‘Syrian Americans for peace, democracy and freedom in Syria.’

Demonstrations erupted on both East and West coasts of the United States, and cities in between.

In DC,
anti-war demonstrators chanted and waved placards outside the White
House. Across the street, Syrians and Syrian Americans who support U.S.
action waved flags from their country and shouted for Assad’s ouster.

Later,
in Los Angeles, about 200 people shouting ‘Hands off Syria’ protested
against a possible American strike.

They waved signs reading ‘No More
War’ and police said they wrote up more than 40 citations after
demonstrators sat in street intersections and blocked traffic. Police
reported two arrests.

Dozens of lawmakers, some in tennis shirts or shirtsleeves, cut short their vacations and streamed into the corridors of the Capitol building for a Sunday afternoon intelligence briefing on Syria with Obama’s national security team.

But the credibility of the
administration’s intelligence is turning out to be a less important
issue than the nature and usefulness of the response.

U.S. military officials are using the
delay to reassess which ships will be used for a strike, and which
sites in Syria to target.

One
change was a decision to send the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and its
entire strike group towards the Red Sea to help support the Syria
strike, if needed.

Syria’s brutal two-and-a-half-year-old conflict has claimed more than 100,000 lives, including hundreds who – according to the U.S. – were killed in chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime near Damascus on August 21.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s
government has denied involvement, instead blaming rebels for the
attacks. Neither the U.S. nor the Assad regime has presented proof in
public to back up the allegations.

In
Washington, Obama was lobbying Congress to support a military strike to
punish the Assad regime for its alleged chemical weapons use.

Obama
initially seemed poised to launch military action without asking
Congress, but over the weekend changed his mind.

A vote is expected
after Congress returns from summer recess on September 7.

Obama was to meet with former
political rival Senator John McCain at the White House on Monday, hoping
the foreign policy hawk will help sell the idea of U.S. military
intervention.

On Capitol
Hill, senior administration officials briefed lawmakers in private on
Sunday to explain why the U.S. was compelled to act against Assad.
Further meetings were planned from Monday to Wednesday.

Innocents: According to U.S. estimates, of the 1,429 killed in the attack, 426 were children

Innocents: According to U.S. estimates, of the 1,429 killed in the attack, 426 were children

Responsibility: French agents say Assad's regime is behind the nerve gas attack in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus on August 21

Responsibility: French agents say Assad’s regime is behind the nerve gas attack in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus on August 21

The Arab League, meanwhile, stopped short of endorsing military action. In an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday, it called on the United Nations and the international community to take ‘deterrent’ measures under international law to stop the Syrian regime’s crimes, but could not agree on whether to back U.S. military strikes.

Two of Assad’s most influential
foreign backers, China and Russia, lined up against Washington’s new
attempt to make the case for a military strike.

China
is ‘highly concerned’ about possible unilateral military action against
Syria and believes the international community must ‘avoid complicating
the Syrian issue and dragging the Middle East down into further
disaster,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing on
Monday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov, meanwhile, dismissed U.S. information given to Moscow on the
alleged chemical weapons attack as ‘absolutely unconvincing’.

There
was ‘nothing specific’ in the evidence presented by Washington, Lavrov
said. ‘No geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were
carried out by the professionals.’

He did not say what tests he was referring to.

Debate: The President meets national security advisers to discuss possible military action

Debate: The President meets national security advisers to discuss possible military action

Lavrov said U.S. officials told the Russian government they cannot share all the evidence because some of it is classified.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. received new physical evidence in the form of blood and hair samples that show sarin gas was used in the August 21 attack.

Kerry said the U.S. must respond with its credibility on the line.

The Syria conflict erupted in March 2011 as an uprising against Assad that quickly transformed into a civil war.

The fighting has displaced 5 million inside Syria, according to the UN. In addition, nearly 2 million Syrians have crossed into neighboring countries, previously released UN figures show.

Before the outbreak of the conflict, Syria had a population of about 23 million people.

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