Saturday, 31 August 2013

Syria Crisis: The Hawks Will Return.

'Cameron supported intervention without being sure he could secure the necessary parliamentary backing. For him the situation was a daunting one, but it did not require a political genius to see what resistance to force lay within his party'
Ironically, it was Cameron's determination to recall Parliament and use the sort of 'public diplomacy' used by Tony Blair that ensured there would be no British military involvement on Syria based on the government's motion on August 30. So he acheived far more than Miliband in preventing war.

If Cameron had accepted the sort of approach favoured by Miliband then it is quite possible that British military involvement based upon the case against Assad for having allegedly used chemical weapons on August 21 may well have gone ahead should the UN inspectors have found 'some' evidence.

With news of President Obama now playing for time and putting the matter of US military involvement to Congress, a combination of Cameron and Hague's blundering and bluster and Miiband's opportunism could well mean that if Congress votes for it another vote could be sought in Parliament.

Milband was not against military action in principle but judged the public mood and that of Parliament better. If Obama now starts building up the 'compelling evidence' he has referred to and that was stated as the second condition Labour tabled in its amendment, then another vote could happen.

This, unfortunately, is not out of the question as Liam Fox indicated. The spin machine is in full motion now trying to portray the imperative for a missile strike against Assad's regime and military assets. Moreover, there is a new emerging consensus about the value of the delay to making the case firmer.Fox stated
"I think it is reasonable to wait until we have had the report of the UN inspectors but ultimately we will still have to make a response as an international community. We may have put it off for a few days from the British perspective but we still have to make a response."
"It is against international law, it is a war crime. We have a duty as an international community to make a response to that. 
"I think it is reasonable to wait until we have had the report of the UN inspectors but ultimately we will still have to make a response as an international community. We may have put it off for a few days from the British perspective but we still have to make a response." 
Lord Reid, defence secretary under Tony Blair, said Labour leader Ed Miliband was right to force a delay, insisting it would "maximise the legitimacy" of the use of force.
He told Today: "I can't speak for Ed or for the party officially but I do think that his decision was a wise one and I do think that the Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to heed Ed Miliband's call to await the UN inspectors report was also a right one and a wise one.
"I say that especially because we are less than a week or so away from their conclusion, it's not a matter of months or years, and because waiting maximises the legitimacy of the use of force if it proves to be necessary.
"It also increases the prospect of greater international support for any action whereas jumping the gun, taking military action before the United Nations inspectors have had a chance to report, over a matter of 10 days, not 10 years or 10 months, jumping the gun on that would diminish both of those chances of legitimacy and support"
What these seasoned and wily political manipulators are saying is that even if the case for military intervention was lost by Cameron on the basis of the motion and manner and timing of its presentation, then there is no reason why a 'different' case could not be re-presented later somehow.

Those celebrating prematurely that military intervention has been avoided for good need to understand that a lot of politicians firmly wedded to the US and the special relationship and the 'power' that gives are not going to let something such as democracy get in the way of making the 'right decision'.


Ashdown can be satisfied that Britain may yet get involved.There is a distinct possibility of a second vote. The Spectator columnist Isabel Hardman has argued it may well happen. The idea Miliband was truly defying Washington is almost certainly a 'triumph of hope over experience'.

If Congress does not debate and vote on action until 9 September, there is time for the UN weapons inspectors to report and the UN Security Council to vote. This assumes Congress does approve action (and Obama said he was confident he would get the support, hopefully based on better intelligence than that which led Cameron to be equally confident at the start of this week). But if all of those conditions are met, would the Labour party support action? If they would – and it would be foolish for Cameron to return to the Commons without absolute certainty of Miliband’s support – then the Commons could plausibly see another vote on whether the UK should be involved in the international response to the chemical attacks.
It is worth noting the wording of Ed Miliband’s point of order in the Commons on Thursday night once the defeat had been announced:
‘On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There having been no motion passed by this House tonight, will the Prime Minister confirm to the House that, given the will of the House that has been expressed tonight, he will not use the royal prerogative to order the UK to be part of military action before there has been another vote in the House of Commons?’
Cameron won’t return to Parliament unless he is sure of victory on this issue. But Miliband hasn’t ruled out another vote either
Cameron is going to be hell bent on getting his way and forcing intervention on Britain whether it likes it or not.

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