A military strike in Syria has stumbled into hurdles in the US and UK as opposition from lawmakers and the public decreased the likelihood of intervention into Syria’s civil war.
After a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syria’s government against areas sympathetic to rebels, both the US and UK raised the possibility of a military strike against Syria and its government. The attack reportedly killed more than 300 people, most of them civilians.
In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron brought the prospect of a military strike before Parliament, but the measure was voted down 285-272.
“It is clear to me that the British parliament… does not want to see British military action,” Cameron said afterward.
But other British officials were clearly disappointed with the result. Chancellor George Osborne told Radio 4’s Today that the vote called for “national soul searching about our role in the world.”
“I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all of the world’s problems,” he added.
Britain’s rejection of a military strike in Syria was applauded by Russia, which has close ties with Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.
The prospect of US military intervention into Syria’s civil war, which has raged for years, was also met with criticism in other corners of the globe. Mohammad Ali Jafari, a commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said a US military strike in Syria would lead to a “second Vietnam war.”
The American public also seems very wary of a military strike in Syria, or at least unilateral action. Nearly 80 percent of Americans believe that President Barack Obama should seek Congressional approval before starting military action in Syria, a poll from NBC News found.
Another 50 percent of Americans said the United States should not make any form of military strike against Syria after the alleged chemical weapons attack.