United States Congress must learn the lessons of the British experience and back Syrian intervention


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The United States’ vote on potential military action in Syria could have a disastrous effect on America’s standing in the Middle East if Congress fails to approve intervention, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) think tank has warned.

With congressional approval being sought by President Obama, the US Administration must use the next week to persuade Congress that the use of force is the only way President Assad will be brought to the negotiating table to bring about peace and prevent further use of chemical weapons.

The HJS, a human rights think tank that seeks to promote liberal democracy around the world, has consistently argued for intervention in Syria and believes the US must now act on the overwhelming evidence of a chemical attack by Assad on August 21st, which killed hundreds of Syrians including more than 400 children.

The HJS has argued that failure to act on proven use of chemical weapons would lead to a proliferation in chemical attacks and give a signal to other regimes, particularly in Iran, that nuclear weaponisation is another red line which can be crossed with impunity.

Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “The British Parliament’s failure to agree, even in principal, that the use of chemical weapons should not go unheeded was a shameful spectacle which will do untold damage to its reputation worldwide. The US Congress must not vote the same way.

“President Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’ – that line has clearly been crossed and action must surely be taken if the West is to retain any credibility in the Middle East and prove that chemical warfare will not be tolerated. For one thing, inaction will give the green light for Iran’s nuclearisation program to cross its own threshold.

“Should Congress vote in favour, and UN inspectors report that chemical weapons have been used by Assad, Britain must also seize its moment for redemption and put intervention to a second vote in Parliament. Everyone wants a negotiated settlement in Syria, and military action is not going to be popular. But it is the only way to bring Assad to the table.”


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