Strike in Syria May Not Have UK Support, As Obama Prepares to Address Conflict
After British Prime Minister David Cameron's initial leap to support President Obama in punitive strikes against Syria — not unlike Tony Blair's docile approach to Iraq under George Bush a decade ago — the European country appears to have backed down a bit Thursday, finding itself split over the imminent invasion.
The government at present operates under a coalition, meaning that power is split between two of the three major parties. While those two ruling parties — the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives, who are headed up by Cameron — appear in support of the strikes, the third party (the once Blair-led Labour) believes there isn't enough evidence. Labour has a significant presence in Parliament, and has refused to back the motion to support America in Syria, should the U.S. launch missile strikes against it.
The British Parliament has been recalled from its summer break to debate the motion, with MPs split about whether Britain should continue to show support. After "the Iraq episode," Cameron admitted, he understood the hesitation about jumping into yet another U.S.-driven war.
While official British intelligence documents conclude that the White House is right about placing blame on last week's chemical attacks on Syrian President Assad, the Labour party remains concerned about the lack of evidence, which the UN swears it can provide if given more time. They're far from the only ones worried: major powers, including Russia and China, are holding back their support for strikes until there exists documented evidence that Assad is to blame.
President Obama is keen to launch strikes before he goes abroad next Tuesday. Not only is he fighting House Reps (because he'd technically be breaking federal law by not consulting Congress before striking Syria), Obama will now have to do so without Britain's support if he goes ahead soon. If Labour keep denying Cameron's motions for support, as they've sworn to do until evidence emerges, the process of establishing military support — if it comes to that — will certainly take longer than a few days.