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British PM feeling the heat over Syria defeat

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British Prime Minister David Cameron's authority was being questioned Saturday following his stunning parliamentary defeat on action against the Syrian regime.

Newspapers said his leadership of the Conservative Party had been shaken, with 30 rebels from his own side contributing to Thursday's defeat in the House of Commons.

In the most humiliating defeat of Cameron's three years in power, lawmakers voted to reject his call for British involvement in military strikes aimed at punishing the Syrian regime for alleged chemical weapons use.

U.S. President Barack Obama now risks suffering the same fate, after he announced Saturday that he would ask Congress to authorise military action.

In London, more than a thousand anti-war protesters gathered at Trafalgar Square to proclaim "victory" after lawmakers saw off Cameron's hopes of joining US-led strikes against Syria.

The British prime minister is considering his next moves as he tries to limit the fall-out from Thursday's sorry episode.

Several newspapers said Cameron would likely reshuffle his cabinet in a bid to boost his authority. Ten government members missed the key vote -- including some who failed to return from holiday and two who did not hear the warning bell.

The Daily Telegraph said at least five ministers faced the sack over what it called the "Syria shambles".

One unnamed minister was quoted in The Guardian as saying: "The veil has been ripped away and we know there are a number of Tory MPs who are willing to do serious damage to David Cameron".

A senior Conservative added: "It's a bit like being present after a massive explosion. There is broken glass and dust everywhere and it will take time for the dust to settle."

The Independent said Cameron had failed in his reading of the public mood, while the debacle had exposed once more the rift in the Conservative Party between the government and restive backbenchers.

A rump of Conservative MPs have never reconciled themselves to Cameron leading the center-right party into coalition with the smaller, centrist Liberal Democrats.

Cameron is "humbled at home and weakened abroad", The Independent said.

The opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband did not emerge unscathed from the fall-out either.

Cameron accommodated Miliband with a series of concessions to his motion, in a bid to send a strong message from Britain's parliament on the use of chemical weapons -- only to see Miliband change tack and lead every Labour MP who voted to reject the motion.

The Daily Mail said Miliband had "repaid Mr Cameron's straight-dealing with a display of wriggling political opportunism that should fill the nation with distaste".

It added: "Where Mr Cameron's future is concerned, yes, he has been humbled. But the damage is far from terminal. Indeed, a little humility may yet make him a better and stronger prime minister, if it teaches him to listen."

The Sun said that while Cameron had made a "monumental blunder" in failing to shore up Conservative support, "the real villain is Ed Miliband", who decided that "playing politics was more important than the lives of gassed children".

"By voting to rule out even the possibility of responding to a crime against humanity, the House of Commons shamed our great nation," it added.

MPs had forgotten the lesson of Britain's 1930s appeasement of Nazi Germany, the top-selling tabloid said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "will see that our condemnations are meaningless. He now knows we will only ever shout at him".

Doctor Andrew Blick, a lecturer in politics and contemporary history at King's College London university, said some Conservatives exploited a chance to rebel against Cameron.

However, for many lawmakers, the shadow of parliament's vote to back the 2003 invasion of Iraq loomed large.

"For some people this is like a re-run of Iraq -- only this time around they didn't want to make the same mistake that was made last time," he told AFP.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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For some people this is like a re-run of Iraq—only this time around they didn’t want to make the same mistake that was made last time, No, they decided to "fix" that mistake by making a totally different, arguably greater mistake this time. Provided with evidence of crimes against Humanity and a clear choice, a majority of MPs said, "So sorry about the gas, lads. Not our concern really." So much for England's out-sized. Influence

So you're 100% confident that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attacks and not the rebels? Obama said he wants to initiate missile strikes against the Syrian government for their use of chemical weapons(citation needed). He drew the red line against the use of chemical weapons but it's funny how the line just appears and disappears depending on which side you're on.

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/08/us-and-nato-backed-rebels-admit-responsibility-for-chemical-attack-in-syria-2752352.html

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For some people this is like a re-run of Iraq—only this time around they didn’t want to make the same mistake that was made last time,

No, they decided to "fix" that mistake by making a totally different, arguably greater mistake this time. Provided with evidence of crimes against Humanity and a clear choice, a majority of MPs said, "So sorry about the gas, lads. Not our concern really."

So much for England's out-sized. Influence.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

military strikes aimed at punishing the Syrian regime for alleged chemical weapons use

The 'Syrian regime' - the people who made the decision and gave the order for the use of chemical weapons - is quite safe in an underground bunker somewhere. Dropping bombs will not 'punish' them at all.

When people are accused of an alleged crime, isn't the civilised response to take them to court and prove the allegations before administering punishment?

playing politics was more important than the lives of gassed children

Typical jingoistic vomit from the Sun. They think the solution is to blow more children to pieces with bombs? That's somehow less evil than gassing them?

A few days ago a friend and I were watching a TV report on cluster bombs and the damage they do, and she remarked that if the media made a point of showing us the grisly images of what bombs and bullets do to the human body (instead of blurring everything and telling us these images are too disturbing to broadcast), fewer people would be so casually in favour of war and 'military strikes'. Then today we saw on the news quite graphic images of the suffering caused by chemical weapons, the message clearly being look at what dastardly deeds the Bad Guys are committing - but with nary a whisper about the damage done by our antiseptic and just military strikes and drone attacks.

Cameron was shaken, humiliated, humbled and weakened? Who cares? He seriously wanted to drop bombs on Syrian children. So a number of Tory MPs ... are willing to do serious damage to David Cameron? Maybe they didn't want to do serious damage to Syrian civilians?

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The English don't want to kill Syrians,nor do they want another huge war debt hanging over their heads.

Change that to British and I'll agree with you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The English don't want to kill Syrians,nor do they want another huge war debt hanging over their heads.

Cameron knows who pays for wars and the British public know it too!

I wish the American public knew this.............

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Super,

"Looks like the US isn't the only dysfunctional government with people looking out for themselves."

Just watch the parliament in session to see how dysfunctional they all are with all that jeering and pomp. Privileged Eton botty boys completely out of touch with reality, much like France - governed by elitists with no option for anyone fresh at the urn.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Camoron is an idiot. God for the Brits for saying 'no' to the US for once. Long may it continue. Britain would have had far fewer terrorist problems had it not pandered to the US and gone to war for the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US wants a war? They've got plenty of troops and supplies. If a new Falklands War breaks out, the US will not support the UK. They have said as much. So good on the UK for making a stand. The lap-dog bites the hand of it's master.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Steve Jobs biological father was Syrian.

Kelly Slater, the greatest Athlete of all time, is also of Syrian decent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pretty interesting article. Looks like the US isn't the only dysfunctional government with people looking out for themselves.

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The Sun on its moral high horse is always a disgusting sight and the Daily Mail is as idiotic as ever. A poll by the Telegraph put public support for UK involvement in an attack on Syria at 11%. Cameron has long had a reputation for not listening (along with his chancellor) and the 'I get it', or variations on it, when he faces a backlash or is forced into a u-turn is becoming ridiculous. Luckily for him, he is facing the worst Labour leader I have seen in my lifetime.

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Cameron was rather short on specifics in his address to the House of Commons. After Iraq, the result was hardly surprising. I can't help but think things might have gone better if he had more in the way of tangible evidence.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is finally a win for the people against these Lib war-mongers.

Steve Jobs biological father was Syrian.

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/10/09/170940.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well yes, you must admit defeat, but houhou

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Following his defeat Cameron said he "gets it" that the British people don't want to kill Syrians. Yet it now looks like he will sack those who failed to support his daft motion. Clearly, he doesn't "get it" and is angry and resentful and looking for revenge.

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The Sun trying to compare Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with the current determination of inaction in Syria - that lot wouldn't have a room temperature IQ combined.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cameron is the first Prime Minister to lose a war vote in the British Parliament since 1782. (Reuters)

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