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From the Guardian:

Here is what David Cameron said to Ed Milband. Miliband asked for an assurance that Cameron would not use the royal perogative to launch an attack on Syria (ie, without consulting parliament) and that instead he would only launch an attack following a Commons vote.

"I can give that assurance. Let me say, the House has not voted for either motion tonight. I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons. It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the government will act accordingly."

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -

The Government's motion was defeated by 285 votes to 272 votes.


The Prime Minister
The Deputy Prime Minister
Secretary William Hague
Secretary Theresa May
Secretary Philip Hammond
Mr Dominic Grieve

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.

Labour's amendment was defeated by 332 votes to 220 votes.
Amendment (a)

Caroline Lucas
Paul Flynn
Jeremy Corbyn
Mr Elfyn Llwyd
Jonathan Edwards
Hywel Williams

Line 1, leave out from ‘House’ to end and add ‘deplores the chemical weapons attacks and appalling loss of life in Syria; notes that the reports of weapons inspectors in Syria are yet to be published, and that there is no UN authorisation for military action; regrets that the Attorney General’s advice on the legality of military action has not been made available to hon. Members; calls for refugees from the Syrian conflict to be fully assisted and supported; and believes that the case for military action against Syria has not been established.’.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No use of royal prerogative (14+ / 0-)

    Cameron confirmed after the vote that he will not use the royal prerogative power to take military action without a further Parliamentary vote.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:40:13 PM PDT

  •  They wanted me to go to Syria, MPs said (14+ / 0-)

    no, no, no.

    Goof for fucking them.

    As Larison says:

  •  The UK decides to wait. (7+ / 0-)

    Memories of Iraq are to strong it seems, British parliament takes no position.

    •  Condemning someone to death (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya, blueoasis, corvo, Tony Situ

      on circumstantial evidence is not done.

      “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

      by northsylvania on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:47:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Neither should.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tony Situ

        someone suspected of heinous crimes be allowed to just keep committing them.

        A camel can carry a lot of gold, but it still eats alfalfa.

        by oldliberal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The key word, as you wrote, is 'suspected'. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity, Smoh, corvo, Egalitare, Tony Situ

          Someone shouldn't be allowed to keep committing the crimes we suspect him/her of having committed???

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:28:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ

            Assad has a proven track record of murdering his own people to maintain power.  Absent a trial in a court of law, he will remain a suspect, but a trial in a court of law will probably never happen, and if it does, it will be years away.  Does that mean we should just wait?

            How many more hundreds or thousands of innocent children, women, and men should we allow to die from chemical weapon attacks before we take a moral stand?  And if we don't respond, it just gives Assad tacit permission to continue.

            A camel can carry a lot of gold, but it still eats alfalfa.

            by oldliberal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:19:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your first paragraph and second paragraph don't (6+ / 0-)

              fit together.

              Military intervention is being pushed as a response only to suspected chemical weapons use, not for any other reason.

              I'll take your very selective 'moral stand' seriously if it ever includes al-Nusrah and its related groups, who would benefit from the military intervention your 'moral stand' calls for.

              Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

              by InAntalya on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:37:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I respect you greatly.... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tony Situ, InAntalya

                and always follow your diaries.  Let me further explain my thoughts.

                1)  I think there's no doubt that chemical weapons were used unless one believes that the videos were completely fabricated - possible, but the likelihood is extremely small.  So I never said anything about suspected chemical weapons use.  The suspect in this case referred to Assad, who under the usual understanding of law is a suspect until proven guilty in a court of law.  A report on NBC News tonight said that the US has an intercepted communication that Assad's brother ordered the chemical weapons attack.  My belief is that the government is responsible for the chemical weapons attack.  As for the UN investigation, the only mandate that it has is to determine if there was a chemical attack and not to determine who did it.  

                2)  Chemical weapons were used earlier in Syria and nothing was done in response by the international community which certainly gave the Assad regime the impression that they could get by with doing it again.

                3)  I don't subscribe to the idea that it makes no difference that chemical weapons were used because 'dead is dead'.  If chemical weapons had not been used in the latest circumstance, there would be many innocent civilians who would not be dead today.

                4)  Although the initial demonstrations in Syria as part of the Arab Spring began peacefully, the situation has devolved into an uncontrollable situation with every scoundrel and charlatan moving in to the power vacuum to get what they can out of the situation.  The best way for this not to have been the case would have been for Assad to have negotiated or given up power instead of ego-maniacally clinging to power at all costs.  At this point, I have no illusions that once Assad is gone that things will be any better in Syria, and will probably be far worse for a period of time.  As for your assertion that I'm taking a 'very selective moral stand', does my calling out Assad's use of chemical weapons and believing that something needs to be done about it somehow preclude me from viewing certain other players arrayed against Assad as equally despicable?   To use a comparable, should we not take action against a drug lord because another drug lord will step in and take over his territory?

                5)  You use the term 'military intervention' which I think is a bit broad.  My understanding is that there will be some tactical strikes against regime military assets.  I would certainly not support anything beyond this.

                A camel can carry a lot of gold, but it still eats alfalfa.

                by oldliberal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 10:27:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks, and thanks for this comment. (0+ / 0-)

                  1) You believe 'that the government is responsible for the chemical weapons attack'.

                  I believe that it is possible that the government is responsible for the chemical weapons attack.

                  Determining if there was a chemical attack and which chemicals were used are the first and key steps to being able to determine who used them.

                  2) I would say '... certainly [could have given] the Assad regime the impression that they could get by with doing it again. [Keeping in mind that there have been several allegations that both Syrian government forces and rebels have caried out small chemical weapons attacks in the past year.]'

                  3) Well said.

                  4) '... The best way for this not to have been the case would have been for Assad to have negotiated or given up power instead of ego-maniacally clinging to power at all costs. ...'

                  There were many opportunities for negotiations, but when the SNC became the 'chosen one' these disappeared. The SNC, despite heavy pressure being put on them, refused and still refuse to negotiate. There were and are still now several opposition groups who support a negotiated solution. It's just that they are being ignored by the West.

                  In the previous comment I would have said '... And if we don't respond, it [could] just gives Assad tacit permission to continue. [But if we do respond we have to make sure that by doing so we don't strengthen the rebel groups which are also committing numerous atrocities.]'

                  5) I use 'military intervention' because it is broad and includes tactical strikes, but these tactical strikes could easily result in broader actions even if the US does intend them to.

                  Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                  by InAntalya on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:01:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Well, as you say - SOMEONE did this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PrahaPartizan, InAntalya

          Whatever "this" is, and I don't think that we really know even that yet.

          Wouldn't it be a bit embarrassing if it turns out that this was an attack by a rogue Syrian Army officer?  One who stayed on with rebel sympathies rather than defecting? or one who is truly nuts and doesn't care about consequences? Or perhaps the rebels DO have the capability to launch such an attack - and this is the work of a really radical group who doesn't mind killing civilians in a "good cause".  Or a group that's in a fight with whatever group controlled the territory that was attacked.  Or maybe this isn't sarin at all, but an organophosphate insecticide.  Released deliberately, or perhaps vented from a storage tank that was hit by an artillery shell, or a rocket (and whether that came from the government or rebel side is also an open question).

          The point is, that none of these imponderables has been resolved yet - that is clear from the intelligence assessment that was leaked.  And until that is no longer the case, no action whatsoever is the best course.

          ONCE all that is cleared up, THEN it's possible to begin to work on what to do.  But even then, the central goal of any action must be to advance US interests, not act as some sort of international policeman.

  •  Not now? Not yet? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is that what the vote means, I wonder.

    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

    by SoCalSal on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:16:08 PM PDT

    •  This was one of two votes scheduled (the second (6+ / 0-)

      is moot as the first failed).

      This in essence was a condemnation of Assad for using chemical weapons that would lead to a vote on using military intervention.

      With this vote, Cameron's government has been weakened. It was not a vote of no confidence, but he is PM only because he formed a coalition government. If he presses too hard, the coalition could fracture (40 of his own MP's voted against) and cause Parliament to dissolve and a general election, and Cameron would no longer be the head of the party.

      •  Why do people have such limited imagination? (0+ / 0-)

        The anti-war factions in the western countries are all cheering the narrow victory in the British House of Commons for those against the motion condemning the Assad Government for using chemical weapons against innocent civilians, women and children in Syria. Do those who are now hoping that the prospect of any military intervention against the Assad regime has now been scuttled for good think that this is the last time that the world will have to deal with mass scale chemical weapons?

        As with any deadly game there is no such state in the game of balanced consequences that will satisfy all opponents. Such is the case in this instance. With the reluctance of the western nations to do anything about the escalation in the use of chemical weapons in Syria, they have passed the threshold of scale and entered onto the scale of the use of massive chemical weaponry.

        Consider this, David Cameron mentioned that their had been at least fourteen (14) prior attacks using chemical weapons that had been reported and verified. FOURTEEN!!
        As stated above this was a form of creep using these weapons, increasing the scale on a gradual basis to determine the limit acceptable to the rest of the world. Now they have reached that limit and exceeded it and it appears without any punitive action from the rest of the world.

        As a result what the world faces now is the FUTURE PRODUCTION and development of even DEADLY NERVE AGENTS with greater range, killing speed, and affectivity among the nations of the world large and small. The barn door has been opened and the monster set free upon mankind, and the second horse, the red horse and rider has been set abroad , and may God help us all.  


        •  That the 'proof' of fourteen 'verified' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          chemical weapons attacks hasn't been realeased, not even to the UN's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, doesn't seem at least a little odd to you?

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:50:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This increases the chances (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Matt Z, OLinda, InAntalya, Egalitare

    that the U.S. will not launch an attack, I'd guess, and I'd hope.

    To get around the problem of illegality, we've got the Coalition of the Willing theory. That if we can arm twist other nations into it, that somehow makes it OK.

    OBAMA: And, you know, if the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work, and, you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account.

    Transcript of President Obama's interview on "New Day", CNN

    The theory is entirely without justification. But if we can't pull together a coalition to make it work, we are less likely to go ahead and do it ourselves.
  •  This can give Obama cover, if he wants it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, Matt Z

    A lot of the pressure for us to "do something" seems to be coming from the UK and EU out of a concern that refugees might flood their country. Aside from the fact that that seems a pretty questionable reason to use military force, it's also an issue that primarily concerns Europe.

    So if they're not willing to use force themselves, that should make it easier for Obama to refuse as well, if he wants to.

  •  it's a mistake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ

    but after yesterday it's not surprising.

    That said if the UK is going to ignore this then that kinda of limits the options of the US, especially after yesterday.

    •  This is not a mistake. It is a rational (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ, InAntalya

      realization that not all the information needed for a proper determination of what actually happened has been collected.

      Once that has been done, we can begin to decide (i) what our policy goals are, and (ii) how to accomplish them.

  •  Syria is a crap shoot and our British cousins... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, corvo, PeterHug

    ...have walked away from the table.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:39:02 PM PDT

  •  Good for Britian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ

    It is time for the US congress to take over the decisions and actions to start aggression against another country. The presidency has had to much latitude in bombing without congress consent. Civilians need to make military decisions to avoid becoming a third world country.

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