Thursday night, the British Parliament rejected the intended military attack on Syria by a 285-272 vote.

According to The Guardian, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he will not proceed without parliamentary approval.

“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.”

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

The US will continue

Informed about the result of the vote in the UK, the US government declared to have no intention to back away.

“The British have been very strong in condemning the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, and that vote in the Parliament doesn’t change that. That is a very significant position for any nation to take publicly. We’ll continue to work with Britain and consult with Britain as we are with all our allies.” US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

“It is the goal of President Obama and our government to whatever decision is taken that it be an international collaboration and effort. … Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together.” He added.

Thursday evening, the National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the US will act in their interests. Washington will continue to consult with Britain, but “President Obama’s decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States” he declared in a press statement.

On a consultation Thursday, the U.S. Congress was cautious and many members have shown their skepticism against an intervention widely compared to the Iraq war in 2003. Rejecting such comparisons President Obama ensured that any attack on Syria would be limited.

Talking to the UK lawmakers, Cameron has, on his side, recognized having received lessons from the Iraq war but he called Syria case “fundamentally different”. “I am of course deeply mindful of the lessons of previous conflicts and in particular the deep concerns in the country about what went wrong with the Iraq conflict in 2003,” he said. “The justification for intervention is based on a broad array of evidence as well as the fact there is more untied support within the international community of the need for action.” He added.

No UN resolution

On the UN side, the 45 minutes meeting of Thursday didn’t result on a resolution. China and Russia has staunchly opposed any military intervention in Syria and called for UN weapons inspectors to be allowed to complete their investigation.

The UN weapons inspectors are expected to brief Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shortly after they depart Syria on Saturday.

France, another ally of Washington in the Security Council, acknowledged that a military response was “complicated to build.” President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they expect the results of the UN investigation. However, the French President stressed the need to “mark a halt over the escalation of violence.”

How far will the US go unilaterally?


Marie Chantal UWITONZE

security and international affairs editor

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