The Obama speech to the American people and the world, delivered on the eve of the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, was very carefully crafted and designed to appeal to public opinion while leaving the ball still firmly in his court. He reminded the world he is still commander in chief and is only going to Congress for what he considers ideological reasons that reflect the democratic nature of the American nation. He laid out past precedents for going to war without Congressional approval leaving the door open for him to make such a decision if circumstances dictated.
Obama was also careful to avoid emphasising Israel’s role in Middle East affairs though very subtly gave Israel the green light to “defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakeable support of the United States of America” in the event of any retaliation resulting from strikes against Syria. Such ‘overwhelming force supported by the US’ could include attacking Hezbollah and Iran.
A politically clever speech all round designed to placate the huddled masses yet not tie his or Israel’s hands for future war.