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US, allies going around UN to justify Syria action

UNITED NATIONS – The U.S. and its allies are looking beyond the painfully divided U.N. Security Council to legitimize military action against Syria.

To do so, they must build a cohesive rationale and win broad international backing for a strike.

One key option is gaining backing from NATO, even persuading the military alliance to take the lead.

That helped the Clinton administration in the late 1990s build legitimacy for the Kosovo war, which the Security Council never sanctioned because of opposition from veto-wielding Russia.

The Obama administration framed its case in narrow terms: A strike would be punishment for the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in violation of international law, and the goal would not be regime change.

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