U.S. at UN Makes Case for Military Action Against Syria

Lula Sharp
April 15, 2018

Trump has since tempered those remarks and the White House said no final decisions on possible actions had been taken.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said no decision had been taken to launch strikes and stressed Washington was taking time to assess the implications of possible military action after Russia warned it could lead to a risky US-Russian war.

"There is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said in a televised statement.

But May said intelligence pointed to the Syrian government being behind the suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma last Saturday, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said speed was "essential".

"This collective action sends a clear message that the worldwide community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons", May said at a press conference, calling the military action "right and legal".

Ministers agreed that May should continue to work with the United States and France to come up with the right response.

Syria warned that it will have "no other choice" but to defend itself if the West launches military action.

"Our service personnel have played an important role in terms of degrading the ability of the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons in the future", Williamson said.

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"We will not sacrifice the global order we have collectively built to the Russian desire to protect its ally at all costs", said Ambassador Karen Pierce.

"Britain should press for an independent United Nations -led investigation of last weekend's horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account".

May has repeatedly said that the missile strike on Syria was not about "regime change".

Konashenkov said that Russian Federation knew "for sure" that between April 3-6, the White Helmets - a group which helps civilians in opposition-held territory in Syria - were "under severe pressure specifically from London to produce as quickly as possible this pre-planned provocation".

The BBC said May was ready to give the go-ahead for Britain to take part in action led by the US without seeking prior approval from parliament, and the Financial Times said the cabinet had agreed to this.

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to targets of the Islamic State group. That then deterred the USA administration of Barack Obama from similar action.

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