Does the British parliament need to have its say on whether or not Britain can attack targets in Syria as punishment for the alleged chemical weapons attack? Well, the simple answer is yes. If Theresa May goes ahead without parliamentary support she would be effectively committing political suicide because the majority of the British people are opposed to any military action. Convincing parliament that the Assad regime should be punished through military action could take months.
I suspect that the US is ready to strike but will do so alongside France not Britain. May does have an option which she could use: Britain has a number of very sophisticated surveillance aircraft based in the Gulf and Cyprus. These aircraft could be used to identify possible targets for French or US aircraft and missiles. I suspect that this will ultimately be the British option. The British government would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the US and France but not getting involved in the actual military action. The legacy from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the British public no longer want to see British troops involved in foreign wars. And they are right of course. May may want to show Britain as a key player on the world stage but the British public want British troops to stay at home and not get involved. The US must understand that Britain is no longer prepared to be rushed into new conflict.
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