So Parliament has been recalled and is debating the following Government Motion:
That this House:
Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;
Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;
Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;
Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;
Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;
Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;
Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;
Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and, whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;
Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and notes that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and
Notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.
The first point to make is how refreshing it is that the Government has sought the approval of the Speaker of the House to recall Parliament during the final days of the summer recess in order that this matter can be debated.
The second point to note is that the Joint Intelligence Committee has concluded and I quote from their letter to the Prime Minister: ‘it is highly likely that the regime was responsible for the Chemical Weapons attacks on 21st August.’
The third point is that the Government has made it clear it intends to try and secure United Nations Security Council resolution before taking any military action.
The fourth point to note is that the Government has published a summary of the legal advice it has received confirming that it would be appropriate for the international community to take action including military action if action is blocked in the Security Council.
Finally and crucially the Motion makes it clear that a further vote would be required in the House of Commons before any direct British involvement in military action is taken.
I do not want to see the UK drawn into the Civil War in Syria and I have consistently opposed any arming of the Syrian rebels. I do however accept that we as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the nation with the 4th largest military budget in the World has both a moral and a humanitarian obligation to uphold international conventions against the use of chemical weapons.
Understandably after what has happened in the past particularly in relation to the War on Iraq there is great scepticism about any UK military involvement. Despite my scepticism about involvement in Libya particularly about the exit strategy I accepted there was a need to prevent a humanitarian disaster and the mission was essentially successful in this regard.
I will be surprised if the House of Commons does not back the Government’s approach later this evening.
6 thoughts on “Use of Chemical Weapons In Syria”
Further to my last post and who you voted for, i’m sure you did not have the people of Bury in mind when you voted for camerons ridiculous motion for unauthorised action against Syria because you have not bothered to speak to your electorate for 7 weeks. You and your tory colleagues have repeatedly condemned Tony Blair for his actions against Iraq even though there were numerous UN resolutions in favour of the war against Iraq. The people of Bury are not the fools you and useless Dave think we are when you change your minds to suit your changing vote grabbing policies. Today your former Welsh Secretary accused Ed Milliband of, and I quote, ‘breaking his word to the PM’ re the motion on Syria, what a two faced remark that was, remind us of all the lies you tories pedalled prior to the election, a list of just a few follows, and you voted for ALL of them. Tuition fees would not rise, VAT would not rise, over 60’s fuel allowance would not be cut, police numbers would not be cut, people would not see their living standards savaged, there would be no top down cuts to the NHS, jobless figures would be brought down, the number of young people out of work would be slashed, thousands of new houses would be built, etc. etc .etc. Today we hear the most galling diatribe to come out of the mouths of this lying government that I have heard in my lifetime, i.e. the tories are in favour of raising the minimum wage to ‘a living wage’ so they can fool the electorate into voting for them, how deceitful can your party get when it was your lot who voted AGAINST the minimum wage in 1997 and said there would be a loss of 1 MILLION jobs, not forgetting your little episode of ‘letting people work for LESS than the minimum wage, that’s what I call ‘breaking your word’. The voters know the tories are good, no, very good at one thing and that is TELLING LIES but the people of this country are also good, no very good, at remembering the lies mentioned above, which as I said is a mere short list of the lies told so they could get onto power, which after all is all the tories care about.
And here we are, some days after, our MP having been proven utterly wrong, and yet no involvement below the line. For shame, David, I thought that you Tories pretended to enjoy the cut and thrust of intellectual debate.
Clearly not in your case.
How does it feel to be on the wrong side of every single argument that comes to the Commons? Cameron called this wrong and wanted to write an open cheque for Obama as regards our involvement.
I can’t recall you asking your constituents how they felt about this. Did you even try? Apparently not. BTW, asking your wife and friends in the (rapidly dwindling) Tory opposition in council doesn’t actually count as a plebiscite.
Still, we are where we are, and, with luck, at some point, you might even start representing the views of your constituents. I won’t be holding my breath.
You are surprised then. Your leader misread it as well. Now people suffering horribly unlikely to get much help from us. And open house on chemical weapons ?
Now we know what a lame duck PM looks like, oops sorry, we already knew. David why didn’t you wait for the vote before you posted your long drawn out spiel which by the way was missing a number of facts, but there again I am used to watching you drag on in the House. I think your voters would be interested to know how you voted in your governments defeat, I leave you to let the voters know rather than it coming from me via Hansard but I will say I could have won a fortune from a bookie if any bookie was daft enough to give odds on the result, when will your stupid PM learn to judge the mood of the country and the elected MPs, I will tell you when that will be, it will be when the British people kick his backside at the next election and vote in a government who cares for the people of this country, spending money on a civil war that has now’t to do with us instead of looking after our own people beggars belief. Kick the fool out now before he does any more damage to our country.
Have you read The Times of Isreal article dated 27/8/13 Isreali Intelligence Seen as central to US case…. I really think you should.
I would also urge you to consider that Iran may have used this attack as a trial to see what the international response would be to the use of chemical weapons. Could Iran be trying to begin a proxy war on foreign territory ?
Also consider this …. The west attacks Syria …in a reprisal ….Syria attacks Isreal…….US attacks ……….. And so it goes……
Be very careful not to repeat the folly of Afghanistan and Iraq.
History is taught to inform us of the past and how it should influence our present and future…..learn the lessons .
“I will be surprised if the House of Commons does not back the Government’s approach later this evening.”
Frankly, I will be surprised if the Commons do.
This is a poor response to a situation which he should not be getting involved in and are doing so simply so that Cameron can play the big man on the world stage, at a time when he’s been forced by Miliband to backtrack.
Only an idiot would support action as suggested, and apparently you have. You have no idea how this will play out, and yet you suggest that this is somehow in the interests of the UK to do so. That is either niavety or stupidity, and I’m hard pressed to say which.
We could support a mass humanitarian intervention with reference to the UN, and pressure Russia to denounce the activities in Syria (for which we have little documented proof, I note) but, no, back the US and let’s have a rerun of Iraq.
Way to go David, and another reason why you’re toast come 2015.
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