UK’s Cameron loses Syria vote, Obama to push forward anyway

David Cameron

President Barack Obama finds himself in a tough position on military action his administration is planning against the Syrian government. The White House had been relying on British support for an attack against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but they were dealt a blow on Thursday evening that could undermine the international legitimacy of their plans for military action.

During an emergency session yesterday, the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for intervention in Syria. Though the vote was non-binding, Cameron has said that he will respect the “views of the British people.”

The vote was also an embarrassment for Cameron, who was unable to convince skeptical members of his own coalition — the 30 Tories and nine Liberal Democrats who voted against intervention — to back his call for military strikes against Assad. The vote is politically damaging to Cameron as there is talk that Labor-led opposition, which smells blood in the water, could call for a vote of “no-confidence” against the Prime Minister’s coalition government.

In the United States, President Obama faces increasing criticism for his handling of the situation. While he has briefed congressional leaders on Syria, there is no sign that President Obama is planning to ask for authorization, which is bound by the Constitution to do. The White House has indicated that the United States will go into Syria without an international coalition based on an allegation that has not been proven with no clear plan on what happens in the quite possible event that things go very, very wrong.

Of course, the main reason that President Obama doesn’t want to bring the issue to Congress is because there is a good chance that he’ll lose, as many members are skeptical about getting involved in another conflict.

Voters are wary about the idea of military force in Syria. The latest poll on the issue shows that 50% of Americans oppose intervention in the Middle Eastern country, while 42% support it. The kicker in the poll is that 79% of Americans — including overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Democrats — say that President Obama should seek congressional authorization for action in Syria.

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