In a major defeat for Prime Minister David Cameron, British parliament voted against 285-272 against taking any military action in Syria. The vote effectively ensures that Britain will not be involved with any U.S.-led military intervention against the Assad government.
"It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action,” Cameron said after the vote. “I get that and the government will act accordingly.”
The vote is a major blow to Cameron, who, in response to the Labour Party's questioning of Assad's guilt, had already softened the government motion for military intervention. If Britain abstains from supporting the United States' plans for a military strike, it will be the first time since the 1989 invasion of Panama that the United Kingdom has not partnered with the United States in a substantial military outing.
It remains to be seen how much this will affect President Obama's probable plans to launch a military strike, though the New York Times is reporting the UK's parliament vote and increasing opposition in congress won't deter the president, who is reportedly willing to act on his own.
The White House is to present its case for military action against Syria to Congressional leaders on Thursday night. Administration officials assert that the intelligence will show that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad carried out the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
The intelligence does not tie Mr. Assad directly to the attack, officials briefed on the presentation said, but the administration believes that it has enough evidence to carry out a limited strike that would deter the Syrian government from using these weapons again.
Mr. Obama, officials said, is basing his case for action both on safeguarding international standards against the use of chemical weapons and on the threat to America’s national interests posed by Syria’s use of those weapons. Administration officials said that threat was both to allies in the region, like Turkey and Israel, and to the United States itself, if Syria’s weapons fell into the wrong hands.
The Times reports the U.S. strike could come as soon as Saturday, when the United Nations inspectors are scheduled to leave Damascus.
[Image via AP]
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