Syria crisis: US isolated as British MPs vote against air strikes – as it happened

来源:betway必威体育 作者:支摄夯 人气: 发布时间:2019-08-08
摘要:12.17am BST Summary We're going to wrap up our live blog coverage for the evening. Here's a summary of where things stand: • President Obama was faced with a major new complication to any military act

Summary

We're going to wrap up our live blog coverage for the evening. Here's a summary of where things stand:

President Obama was faced with a major new complication to any military action in Syria when Britain appeared to drop out of a prospective coalition. Prime minister David Cameron lost a narrow parliamentary vote to endorse the use of force in . "It is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the will of the British people, does not want to see military action," Cameron said. "I get that and the government will act accordingly."

The White House projected resolve in the face of the British vote. "President Obama’s decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States," a security adviser said in a statement.

Senior intelligence officials held a conference call briefing for members of Congress on possible military strikes on Syria. The call began at 6pm ET, directly after the failed British resolution. Signs of congressional restiveness over the apparent White House intention of conducting its Syria plan without a legislature vote were growing.

US officials speaking on condition of anonymity said there were noticeable holes in US intelligence assessments linking Bashar Assad to the use of chemical weapons on 21 August. A classified assessment by the director of national intelligence said agents could not continuously pinpoint Assad's chemical weapons supplies, according to an AP report. The White House said it would publish an unclassified version of its intelligence assessments.

The Obama administration said any attack on Syria would be "discrete and limited." State department and White House spokespeople rejected comparisons between the faulty WMD intelligence that the US into the Iraq war and the intelligence on Assad's weapons.

A meeting called by Russia of the five permanent members of the UN security council adjourned without publicly reported result. Secretary general Ban Ki-moon said UN chemical weapons inspectors, who carried out a third day of investigations Thursday, would leave the country on Saturday.

France appeared to be making preparations to join a military effort on Syria. Turkey has pledged strong support. Denmark vowed political support although it said it had not been asked for military involvement. A German poll showed deep opposition to the effort. Italy has said it would support military action against Assad.

Tomorrow we can expect a lot of US congressman to air their views on a potential Syria intervention. The question: will they decide they want to break their vacations and return to Washington for a war resolution vote? Or will they be content to air their opinions, and return to Capitol Hill on 9 September as planned?

President Obama will continue to consult with British leaders but will ultimately "be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement reacting to the British parliamentary vote:

We have seen the result of the Parliament vote in the UK tonight. The U.S. will continue to consult with the UK Government – one of our closest Allies and friends. As we’ve said, President Obama’s decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States. He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.

(via @)

Mark Knoller of CBS has great access to the White House. According to Knoller, the White House is saying it "won't be deterred":

Mark Knoller (@markknoller)

WH says it won't be deterred from action against Syria by British Parliament vote against it.

Mark Knoller (@markknoller)

WH says Pres. Obama's decision-making "will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States."

A popular reading of what just happened: parliament votes against the Iraq war.

Robin Lustig (@robinlustig)

Hard to escape conclusion that Iraq chickens finally home to roost. Will MPs & public ever believe intelligence assessments again?

Laura Rozen (@lrozen)

Yes RT : We always fight our last wars they say; was UK vote really about Blair & Iraq?

Here's a very different take:

Johnny Six (@Johnyrocket69)

UK Parliament votes to approve further chemical attacks against civilians in Syria

Updated

A US military strike on Syria would go against the longstanding advice of the president's most senior military adviser, Guardian national security editor Spencer Ackerman (@) :

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and former top army officer, has highlighted the risks of US involvement in Syria's bloody civil war for over two years.

Dempsey, a multi-tour command veteran of the Iraq war, has never openly opposed a strike on Syria, something that would risk undermining civilian control of the military. But when asked for his views, in press conferences and testimony, Dempsey has tended to focus on the risks and costs of intervention.

In April,  that the  could force down Syria's warplanes and disrupt its air defenses, but not without significant peril to US pilots, all for a negligible impact on dictator Bashar al-Assad.

"It's not about: can we do it? It's: should we do it, and what are the opportunity costs?"  in March 2012.

Dempsey's nomination for a new term as chairman was even briefly delayed in the Senate last month after pro-war senators demanded fuller advice about Syria.

Read the .

An anonymous "senior US official" tells CNN's Jim Acosta that "unilateral action may be necessary now."

Hard to argue with that.

Acosta quotes the unnamed official as saying of the British vote:

We care about what they think, we value the process, but we're going to make the decision we need to make.

The official refers to White House spokesman Josh Earnest's statement earlier today that US national security interests are at stake in the current crossroads in Syria.

Earnest did say US interests in the region and the security of allies – he named Israel – were threatened by Assad's (he said) use of chemical weapons.

Earnest also "We're pleased with the strength of international support that exists" for a military intervention.

Is it too soon to declare "a Whitehall effect"?

Stuart Millar (@stuartmillar159)

It's contagious RT : Growing sentiment in Congress: WH needs Hill's OK to strike Syria

Updated

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chair of the House intelligence committee, is making the case for intervention to CNN host Wolf Blitzer.

Rogers is insisting that the reputation of the United States, "60 years of speak softly and carry a big stick" as he confusingly puts it, is at stake. He says the US must back up its words with action. He says that Assad must be taught a lesson.

Blitzer asks Rogers why it always seems the United States is in the position of playing global cop. Rogers says other countries are deeply involved in Syria.

Oh don't start.

Tom Gara (@tomgara)

Thick-cut English-style chips to be renamed Liberation Wedges.

Ali Gharib (@Ali_Gharib)

Freedom muffins, y'all.

Updated

The Obama administration has been saying all week that no decision has been made on military action in Syria. That turns out to be doubly fortunate, because the whole equation appears to have just shifted.

Britian has joined the United States in every significant military outing that Washington has undertaken since the 1989 invasion of Panama the (). That includes the extremely costly and controversial wars of the post-9/11 years. There is no country that Washington has counted on more as a military ally.

Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman)

What was the last non-shadow war the US conducted without the UK in its coalition? Panama? (If you don't count Panama, Vietnam?)

No one questions the US ability to execute the potential military operation at hand unilaterally. But can the president's attempt to build domestic support of his own survive the disturbing spectacle of the British desertion?

Guardian Washington correspondent Paul Lewis asked analysts if the US could and would go it alone in Syria:

Analysts said that with the Arab League condemning Syria but not backing military action, and no prospect of a UN security council mandate, reluctance on the part of Britain and France could prove a problem for the US.

Michael O'Hanlon, the director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution, said fading international support was "regrettable", the Obama administration was unlikely to pull back from the brink at this stage.

Sean Kay, a Nato expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, said it looked likely that the US would attack Syria with or without the UK. "I think they're trying to make it clear they're determined to move forward," he said.

Intelligence officials are scheduled to begin a briefing with members of Congress at 6pm ET. Those conversations look to be significantly different now.

Updated

My colleague Andrew Sparrow in London has of the action in the British parliament.

Cameron said he would respect the clear wish of the British parliament and people not to see military action.

Is Francois Hollande still awake? Seems like a good time for a phone call with Washington.

Updated

The nos have it. 272-285

The British government lost a crucial vote in the UK parliament that was designed to pave the way for military strikes in Syria.

Cameron spoke after losing the vote. It sounded like he was conceding that the UK would not participate in any US-led strike on Syria.

"While the house has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the will of the British people, does not want to see military action."

"I get that and the government will act accordingly"

Updated

New York Times headline: Obama Is Willing to Go It Alone in Syria, Aides Say

WASHINGTON — President Obama is willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort and without an endorsement from the Security Council, senior administration officials said Thursday.

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Parliamentary revolt

It appears that the parliamentary revolt that Cameron feared, to avoid which he agreed to wait for the UN chemical weapons report and hold a double vote, is happening anyway. 

A remarkable wave of opposition to military strikes on Syria appears to be sweeping the British parliamentary debate this evening. The parliament is scheduled to hold a first vote on Syrian intervention at 10pm local time, in about 20 minutes.

My colleague Andrew Sparrow has been live-blogging the entire day of action in parliament, for more than 12 hours now. It's

Prime minister David Cameron had anticipated receiving the authorization he seeks in a second vote, to be held after the delivery of a UN weapons inspection report. But now some members are predicting there will not be a second vote on military action because "the numbers don't stake up", in the words of Conservative MP Edward Leigh.

Andrew has compiled who have expressed skepticism about military intervention.

Of course, expressing skepticism is very different from voting against the government. Andrew quotes as saying that the opposition front bench has voted with the government on every vote on military intervention abroad since Suez in 1956 (until tonight, obviously).

The English-language Twitter feed of Syrian state news tweets the "Syria event calendar – 29th August 2013":

SANA English (@SANA_English)

Event Calendar: 29th August 2013: Your guide to tonight's events, courses & nights out in &

There's a potential problem with the Obama administration's plan for "discrete and limited" strikes on Syria, the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman and Paul Lewis Experts warn that such strikes would not weaken Assad's military strength.

Several US military analysts, while reluctant to commit the US to a fourth overt war in a Muslim country since 9/11, cautioned that Assad's military capabilities, including his chemical weapons capabilities, might not be significantly weakened after a cruise missile strike or bombing campaign.

Assad's post-strike resilience may create pressure for Obama to intervene further, they said – an outcome the administration seeks to avoid.

Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the anti-proliferation Arms Control Association, warned of the environmental risks of striking Syrian chemical silos or stockpiles and releasing toxic chemicals. He considered such strikes unlikely.

"The strikes that the US and UK are contemplating, if they decide on them, will be directed against political and military leadership targets, as well as the means by which Assad's forces can deliver chemical weapons again," Kimball said, including rocket sites and air bases for Russian-supplied helicopters and jets that serve as delivery systems for chemical weapons.

"That could degrade the ability of Assad to deliver chemical weapons, but it won't eliminate it, and it won't eliminate the actual stockpiles, which can only be eliminated when this terrible civil war is over," Kimball said.

Read .

The UN security council meeting is over, with a whimper, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington reports:

All the delegations - US, France, Russia and China - other than the British have slunk out through a back exit, avoiding having to face the assembled media of the world. Not exactly a confidence-building display of global accountability.

Inside Syria: three views on US intervention

The Guardian's Mona Mahmood (@) has been speaking by phone and Skype with contacts in Damascus and has translated interviews with three Syrians about whether they would support a US-led military intervention. Earlier we published her interview with and with a in the Syrian army.

Mona spoke by Skype with a resident of the Damascus suburbs calling herself Um Ali, a mother of five children who said her family survives on charity. "I'm looking forward for the US forces to help us getting rid of Bashar," she tells Mona. "We are fed up with this catastrophic situation."

From an interview with Um Ali, mother of five:

"I'm a mother of five kids. My husband does not have any job so we live on other people's donations. Our condition as a family is too grave and prices are booming day by day. Most of the basic and necessary requirements for the family do not exist where we live and are unaffordable. It is so difficult to find a piece of a bread. If I get wheat, I can't find logs of wood to bake the wheat and make it bread for the children.

"We are deprived of so many things in our district at the suburb of Damascus. We do not have medications and clothes. All my kids are at home and bereft of schools ,as we are moving from one district to another, escaping shelling and violence, looking for relative piece.

"I'm looking forward for the US forces to help us getting rid of Bashar. We are fed up with this catastrophic situation. We have lost everything, our house, our belongings and at any moment we might lose our lives. What we are going through is a blatant injustice. We have been moving from one place to another so, if the US strikes, it does not make any difference for us.

"I'm not stockpiling food for the war because I can hardly afford our daily meals. We are pleading to the all goodwill people in the world to come and help us, we cant stand any more and they can't leave us like this under the mercy of Bashar. We are ready to sustain the consequences of any attack against Bashar if it will put an end to our suffering and stop the machine of death that is sparing nobody."

Interview with

Updated

The P5 meeting of the UN security council appears to be over, leaving
us none the wiser, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington (@) reports from UN headquarters in New York:

The UK ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant has just quit the chamber looking quite displeased and issuing a curt "no comment".

No word still on why the Russians called the gathering in the first place.

Summary

Here's a summary of where things stand:

US officials speaking on condition of anonymity said there were noticeable holes in US intelligence assessments linking Bashar Assad to the use of chemical weapons on 21 August. A classified assessment by the director of national intelligence said agents could not continuously pinpoint Assad's chemical weapons supplies, according to an AP report. The White House said it would publish an unclassified version of its intelligence assessments.

Senior administration intelligence and national security officials scheduled a 6pm ET briefing with members of Congress about possible Syria war planning. President Obama called House speaker John Boehner to discuss deliberations. The secretaries of defense and state briefed Congress, which is in recess, via conference call.

The Obama administration said any attack on Syria would be "discrete and limited." State department and White House spokespeople rejected comparisons between the faulty WMD intelligence that the US into the Iraq war and the intelligence on Assad's weapons.

The British parliament debated whether to respond to chemical attacks in Syria with military strikes on the Assad regime. A final vote on the matter awaits the delivery of a report by UN chemical weapons inspectors.

The United States said it appreciated the strong condemnation of the Assad regime by British leaders. US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel said any assault on Syria would be a multilateral undertaking.

Russia called a meeting between the five permanent members of the UN security council, under way at the time of this writing. The purpose of the meeting was unknown. The security council was not expected to vote on the use of force in Syria, which is opposed by Russia and China.

Syrians were anticipating US-led strikes. The Guardian spoke with two residents of the Damascus suburbs who said they were not stockpiling food because there was nothing to stockpile. An eagerness on the part of Assad opponents for the US to help was counterbalanced by deep mistrust of the US.

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon said inspectors would complete their work in Syria Friday and leave the country Saturday.

Updated

The Assad regime continues to move troops and materiel in an effort to limit losses in any US strikes, Reuters reports. The latest moves include the removal of Scud missiles and dozens of launchers from a base north of Damascus in the foothills of the Qalamoun mountains, opposition sources :

They said rebel raids and fighting near key roads had blocked a wider evacuation of the hundreds of security and army bases that dot the country of 22 million, where Assad's late father imposed his autocratic dynasty four decades ago. [...]

At the headquarters of the army's 155th Brigade, a missile unit whose base sprawls along the western edge of Syria's main highway running north from the capital to Homs, rebel scouts saw dozens mobile Scud launchers pulling out early on Thursday.

Rebel military sources said spotters saw missiles draped in tarpaulins on the launchers, as well as trailer trucks carrying other rockets and equipment. More than two dozen Scuds - 11-metre (35-foot) long ballistic missiles with ranges of 300 km (200 miles) and more - were fired from the base in the Qalamoun area this year, some of which hit even Aleppo in the far north. [...]

Assad's forces appeared already by Wednesday to have evacuated most personnel from army and security command headquarters in central Damascus, residents and opposition sources in the capital said.

Read the .

President Obama has called House speaker John Boehner to discuss the administration's thinking on Syria, Reuters reports.

The called followed an sent by Boehner Wednesday urging the president to consult with Congress on any military decision on Syria. The speaker's letter included 14 questions about the administration's Syria policy.

Heh.

Neal Mann (@fieldproducer)

V good RT Brilliant image from The Spectator sums up today's events in Parliament

The UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, has just arrived at
the security council followed moments ago by the Russian delegation, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington (@) reports from UN headquarters in New York:

The delegates gave no reply to reporters' questions about why Moscow has called this meeting.

Updated

European anti-war protests: in pictures

Peace activists held a rally against a military intervention of the member states of NATO in Syria.
Peace activists in Berlin held a rally against a military intervention of the member states of NATO in Syria. Photograph: Lars Dickhoff/Demotix/Corbis
Members of the Greek Communist Party march with a flag in front of the Parliament in Athens during an protest against any military action by the U.S. and its allies against Syria on Thursday Aug. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
Members of the Greek Communist Party march with a flag in front of the Parliament in Athens during an protest against any military action by the U.S. and its allies against Syria on Thursday Aug. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) Photograph: Dimitri Messinis/AP
A pro-Syrian regime protester kisses a national flag as he demonstrates against French and foreign military involvement in Syria, on August 29, 2013, in Paris.
A pro-Syrian regime protester kisses a national flag as he demonstrates against French and foreign military involvement in Syria, on August 29, 2013, in Paris. Photograph: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf argued Thursday that no one should draw any comparisons between today's Syria crisis and the pre-Iraq war debate about WMD intelligence or going to war, Guardian national security editor Spencer Ackerman (@) reports:

"We're not considering analogous responses in any way," Harf said, ruling out "boots on the ground" and "any military options aimed at regime change" for dictator Bashar Assad.

"We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the Iraq war," Harf said in the daily state department briefing.

"Nobody is talking about a large-scale military intervention," Harf said. Vice President Biden said Thursday that President Obama has yet to decide on a response to Assad's alleged chemical weapons use on August 21.

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