UK and France backing away from Syria strike

posted at 1:21 pm on August 29, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

The shaky coalition of Western nations promising to strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons is getting even shakier.  In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is reconsidering:

David Cameron backed down and agreed to delay a military attack on Syria following a growing revolt over the UK’s rushed response to the crisis on Wednesday night.

The Prime Minister has now said he will wait for a report by United Nations weapons inspectors before seeking the approval of MPs for “direct British involvement” in the Syrian intervention.

Oh look … Cameron plans on getting the approval of Parliament before committing British troops to war.

That’s because opposition British politicians apparently play hardball while ours … well they talk and complain a lot:

Senior sources had previously suggested that Britain would take part in strikes as soon as this weekend which meant an emergency recall of Parliament was necessary on Thursday.

However, following Labour threatening not to support the action and senior military figures expressing concerns over the wisdom of the mission, the Prime Minister on Wednesday night agreed to put British involvement on hold.

The climbdown is likely to be seen as an embarrassment for Mr Cameron as he was determined to play a leading role in British military strikes, which had been expected this weekend.

France too is showing signs of waffling:

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that Syria needed a political solution, but that could only happen if the international community could halt killings like last week’s chemical attack and better support the opposition.

Hollande sounded a more cautious note than earlier in the week, when he said France stood ready to punish those behind the apparent poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in Damascus.

He indicated that France was looking to Gulf Arab countries to step up their military support to the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, after Paris said this week it would do so.

Not exactly the saber rattling that was going on a few days ago.  It appears a “political solution” may be code words for “yeah, we’re climbing down too.”

Don’t expect a climbdown here.  At least not anytime soon. Not only has President Obama said he doesn’t need Congress’s approval, he’s also decided he doesn’t need to inform the American people of his decision via a televised Oval Office announcement.  However he would like the cover of a coalition (my, the shadenfreude here is delicious, isn’t it?).

If one had to guess, however, any strike this week would be sans the British and the French.  And that may be enough to delay an American strike (don’t forget, President Obama claims he hasn’t made a decision yet).

Meanwhile in the Med, tensions spiral up as Russia decides to flex a little naval muscle in the area:

Russia will “over the next few days” be sending an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean as the West prepares for possible strikes against Syria, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday.

“The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” a source in the Russian General Staff told Interfax.

Interesting.  And, if the strikes don’t happen now, who will claim to have helped called the coalition’s bluff?

As with most things concerning foreign affairs that this administration involves itself, this is turning into a debacle of major proportion.

Stay tuned.

~McQ

 


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Comment pages: 1 2

But how does a Syria attack benefit the UK, or the US for that matter?

anotherJoe on August 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Or Israel for that matter?

It’s all very strange indeed.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 29, 2013 at 3:20 PM

No France.

No Britain.

No Congressional approval.

No UN stamp of approval.

Popular US opinion overwhelmingly against it.

Russia and China oppose.

And not much of an “international” coalition, apparently.

farsighted on August 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Obama’s decision to bomb Syria has been so ineptly handled and communicated that it almost seems as if is was deliberately made for the purpose of making America look weak, foolish, and inconsequential on the world stage…oh wait!

Mr. Arkadin on August 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

The plot thickens.

farsighted on August 29, 2013 at 3:18 PM

To be fair, how could anyone know? Right after the neurotoxin attack the area received conventional shelling over a couple days. an NBC (nuclear biological and chemical) sample will reveal the presence of the toxin. but not who used it.

We know the rebels got into Assad’s stockpiles.

Even if our clown posse regime showed me a video of Assad;s guys doing this, I would still want second and maybe third source confirmation. Our government is no longer trustworthy.

dogsoldier on August 29, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Someone giving a stand down order? Who?

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Someone giving a stand down order? Who?

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Valerie.

pain train on August 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM

As with most things concerning foreign affairs that this administration involves itself, this is turning into a debacle of major proportion.

SOS Kerry. If you wouldn’t mind falling on this sword over here, that would be great.

- JugEars

pain train on August 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Obama’s decision to bomb Syria has been so ineptly handled and communicated that it almost seems as if is was deliberately made for the purpose of making America look weak, foolish, and inconsequential on the world stage…oh wait!

Mr. Arkadin on August 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

IIRC, the old Cold War saw was the Russians play chess and the Americans play poker.

Seems Teh One doesn’t know to play either.

But Putin, the ex-KGB officer, seems on his game.

farsighted on August 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The REB is learning that Affirmative Action stops at the water’s edge. Foreign leaders clearly need diversity training.

slickwillie2001 on August 29, 2013 at 4:00 PM

“One is the loneliest number” Three Dog Night.

It also matches Obama’s IQ, his number of successes as president and the number of times he told the truth.

MaiDee on August 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

IIRC, the old Cold War saw was the Russians play chess and the Americans play poker.

Seems Teh One doesn’t know to play either.

farsighted

Not golf either – or we’d constantly hear about his score.

Wait! It’s Spades with Reggie!

(or is it Hearts with Reggie? I forget!)

Wander on August 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

IIRC, the old Cold War saw was the Russians play chess and the Americans play poker.

Seems Teh One doesn’t know to play either.

farsighted

Not golf either – or we’d constantly hear about his score.

Wait! It’s Spades with Reggie!

(or is it Hearts with Reggie? I forget!)

Wander on August 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Checkers is the REB’s game, his daughters are teaching him.

slickwillie2001 on August 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

It’s Spades with Reggie!

Wander on August 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Ooo, that’s racist, right there.

coldwarrior on August 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Monkeys, hand grenades, some assembly required.

abobo on August 29, 2013 at 5:34 PM

While American were under siege and a hot attack was underway in Benghazi, Obama, Panetta, and the US armed forces stood down! Panetta testified that “We can’t be 911 to the world”!! When the muzzie president’s buddies need him, the big O will attack! He should be impeached or tried for treason! It is so obvious that he is undermining this great country! He acts as the de facto leader of the Muslim Brotherhood! I do not want our military might fighting for them like they did in Egypt and Libya!! Wake up patriots!!

Marco on August 29, 2013 at 5:51 PM

UK is out; Cameron lost the preliminary vote by 13.
Following Obama on ANYTHING leads to disaster, as others are finding out.

michaelo on August 29, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Iran, enter stage right.

diogenes on August 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

More like tickling from behind.

AshleyTKing on August 29, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Obama don’t get no respect.

Leading from behind or just an ahole?

Just an ahole.

And we have to put up with his aholeness for THREE MORE YEARS.

Sherman1864 on August 30, 2013 at 12:52 AM

When you’ve lost the French…..

You’ve heard of the French tank with 3 reverse gears and a forward gear in case of attack from behind?

At least the French here realized there is no ally of Western Civilization on either side in the present Syrian conflict.

viking01 on August 30, 2013 at 1:26 AM

What’s the time table on military action against Iran and its nuclear buildup? Way worse than anything done with Sarin and yet Hussein has been ignoring that as best as he could.

riddick on August 30, 2013 at 2:06 AM

When a badger and a cobra are fighting, don’t step between them to offer advice.

Or draw lines, whatever color.

Or allow your foreign policy to degenerate to:

Obama against the world!

Trending toward the paranoid.

profitsbeard on August 30, 2013 at 4:06 AM

Not another drop of American blood or American treasure should be shed for American-hating Muslim pigs!

redware on August 30, 2013 at 6:47 AM

Comment pages: 1 2