Wednesday, December 2, 2015

British MPs to Vote to Decide Syria Campaign- PM David Cameron Tense British MPs to Vote to Decide Syria Campaign- PM David Cameron Tense.

U.K. Lawmakers to Vote on Syria Parliament to debate and decide if bombing campaign against State can proceed

Britain appears to be poised to join the U.S.-led coalition against  State in Syria, with a majority of lawmakers expected to approve military intervention in a parliamentary vote Wednesday. British lawmakers are scheduled to debate a government motion designed to pave the way for Britain to extend strikes to Syria from Iraq, where it has been carrying out  for more than a year. Once the debate has concluded, the ministers are expected to vote—which will probably be late in the day U.K. time. Prime Minister David Cameron has long made the case for such intervention. He has redoubled his efforts over the past week saying the threat posed by State to the Middle East as well as the U.K. has intensified, citing a string of deadly attacks linked to the militant group over recent months, including in Paris. Mr. Cameron said this week that he believes there is “growing support” for military action in Syria.

It is a high-stakes move for the prime minister, who suffered a humiliating parliamentary defeat two years ago when he sought approval for military intervention in Syria after it emerged that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons to attack civilians. Mr. Cameron had said he would only hold another vote if he was confident of winning. The prime minister’s Conservative Party commands a majority in the House of Commons and although some in his party may vote against him, Mr. Cameron is expected to be joined by a significant number of lawmakers from the main opposition Labour Party. Mr. Cameron’s renewed push comes as other countries, including the U.S. and France, have stepped up efforts to defeat State.

Britain’s participation in Syria would provide a significant boost to the international coalition’s efforts to counter the threat of violent militant groups, though senior British officials say it is unlikely to prove decisive. U.K. treasury chief George Osborne said Tuesday that extending military action to Syria would cost in the “low tens of millions of pounds,” which is paid from a special reserve for military action. The arrival of British warplanes to the Syrian battlefield, which could happen within days, could provide capabilities on a par with the U.S. Air Force and allow a potential broadening of the fight. The U.K.’s Brimstone missile system also enables specific strikes against State with low collateral damage, the prime minister has said. Some members of the public and lawmakers remain opposed to such action, including the leader of the main opposition Labour Party and some members of Mr. Cameron’s own Conservative Party. Concerns include how to identify which groups to work with on the ground; what the end point of the conflict would be; and what would happen afterward. Mr. Cameron has acknowledged the complexities involved but argued the risks of inaction outweighed those of taking action. He has argued that growing prospects for a political solution and the recent U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force against extremist groups justifies intervention. He has also said the U.K. shouldn’t “subcontract” its security to other allies and that the situation now is markedly different from 2013, when he lost the last vote. The U.S.-led coalition faces persistent challenges, both in coordinating attacks on State and in smoothing out the allies’ different opinions. Leaders of Western nations have faced headwinds in trying to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to concentrate efforts on State instead of rebels opposed to the Syrian regime, some of which are backed by Western countries.

Many lawmakers and members of the public are reluctant to become embroiled in another complex conflict after the experiences of Iraq in 2003—where the U.K.’s swift backing of a U.S.-led intervention proved deeply unpopular in the U.K.—as well as Afghanistan and more recently Libya. Those concerns helped derail Mr. Cameron’s earlier efforts to secure parliamentary approval for military intervention in Syria. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran peace campaigner, argues bombs will end up killing innocent civilians in Syria and that the Syrian forces the prime minister would be relying on are infiltrated by jihadists. He has also expressed concern that there is no end point in sight. The issue has forced to the fore deep rifts within the Labour Party, where many lawmakers—including some members of the shadow cabinet—have publicly disagreed with their leader. Mr. Corbyn, who took the role in September, said on Monday that he would allow Labour lawmakers to vote with their conscience, making it easier for Mr. Cameron to secure a majority.

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