SyriaBritish MPs vote against U.K. military participation in attack on Syria

Published 29 August 2013

In a heavy defeat to Prime Minister David Cameron, , the British Parliament voted against British military contribution to or involvement in an attack on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons last week. The vote is an embarrassing defeat for Cameron, and a major set-back for President Obama’s plan to put together a coalition of the willing to strike military targets in Syria. The parliamentary vote has no military significance, as the British contribution to the actual military operations would have been minimal at best. The U.K. vote, rather, is a political blow to the United States as it highlights on-going skepticism among Western publics – including U.S. public opinion — about yet another Western military involvement in the Middle East.

In a vote of 285-272, the British Parliament voted against British military contribution to or involvement in an attack on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons last week.

The vote is an embarrassing defeat for Cameron, and a major set-back for President Obama’s plan to put together a coalition of the willing to strike military targets in Syria.

A grim Cameron, speaking after losing the vote, sounded as if he was conceding that the United Kingdom would not participate in any U.S.-led strike on Syria.

While the house has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the will of the British people, does not want to see military action.
I get that and the government will act accordingly.

The parliamentary revolt which finally defeated to governing coalition was brewing for three days now, as the Obama administration made it clear that the United States was going to strike Syria.

Whether it was the memories of the British involvement in Iraq, or a general dissatisfaction with Cameron’s leadership, a wave of opposition to U.K. participation in military strikes on Syria was sweeping the British parliamentary debate earlier this evening.

Cameron anticipated a fight in the House, but was convinced he would receive the authorization he sought in a second vote, which would be held after the delivery of a UN weapons inspection report.

The Guardian reports that now, some MPs are predicting there will not be a second vote on military action because “the numbers don’t stake up”, in the words of Conservative MP Edward Leigh.

The parliamentary vote has no military significance, as the British contribution to the actual military operations would have been minimal at best. Other U.S. allies, especially France and Turkey, have already agreed to participate in such an attack, a have Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states.

The U.K. vote, rather, is a political blow to the United States as it highlights on-going skepticism among Western publics – including U.S. public opinion — about yet another Western military involvement in the Middle East.

 

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