More than 30 Lincoln residents protested a proposed U.S. military strike in Syria outside the Robert Denney Federal Building on Saturday as Congress weighs a proposed military strike and President Barack Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday.

Gameday traffic buzzed past the corner of 16th and O streets as Haidar Kazem stood holding a Syrian flag and a sign. Its message: Go Big Red, No “Little” War.

Kazem lived in the suburbs around the Syrian capital of Damascus from the early 1980s until 1999, when he immigrated to the United States. The 32-year-old construction worker said he doesn’t want the United States “wasting money on a war we have no business getting into.”

“I saw what happened in Iraq,” said Kazem, who lived near Baghdad as a child before his family fled the country because of the first Persian Gulf War between Iraq and Iran.

Like his fellow protesters, Kazem doubts the Obama administration's claims of “high confidence” Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on residents in the Damascus suburbs last month.

The protesters waved Syrian and American flags and held signs saying "Hands off Syria!" and "No More Killing for Lies!"

Also Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with more than two dozen European foreign ministers and said international support for strong action against the Assad regime was increasing, not dwindling, according to The Associated Press.

At home, nearly 60 percent of Americans oppose airstrikes, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted over the Labor Day weekend. That weekend, the Obama administration released its findings of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government, and the president also announced he would seek congressional approval for strikes on the country.

Kazem voted for Obama twice but disagrees with the president’s proposal to use a limited military strike as a condemnation of the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Though the administration has called for a "limited" strike, Kazem said he thinks Assad could retaliate, prompting further U.S. military involvement.

"It's not going to be little," Kazem warned.

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Reach Riley Johnson at 402-473-7306 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.



Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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