Syria Strikes: British Prime Minister Faces Backlash For Bypassing Parliament

Erika Holt
April 16, 2018

"My fellow Americans, a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt opposed calls from MPs including Mr Corbyn - who has called for a War Powers Act - to give Parliament greater powers over military interventions.

"We are confident in our own assessment that the Syrian regime was highly likely responsible for this attack and that its persistent pattern of behaviour meant that it was highly likely to continue using chemical weapons", Mrs May will add.

May said the missile strike was created to minimize any civilian casualties and was not an attempt to change the Syrian government.

But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to targets of the Islamic State group.

May added Britain and its allies had sought to use every diplomatic means to stop the use of chemical weapons, but had been repeatedly thwarted, citing a Russian veto of an independent investigation into the Douma attack at the U.N. Security Council this week.

"This legally questionable action risks escalating further... an already devastating conflict".

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May said intelligence and open source accounts indicated that the regime was behind the attack in Douma last Saturday.

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval before ordering military action, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the US -led invasion of Iraq.

"It shows a weak government putting short-term political expediency before democracy and in so doing further diminishing the standing of Britain in the world", Cable said.

The centre-right Conservatives rely on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland's biggest party, for a majority in parliament.

Peter Felstead, editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, said he did not think May would face a "serious backlash", as the strikes ultimately were politically and operationally "the right thing to do".

He reiterated that Canada condemns the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta.

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