Military intervention may still prove the last resort over Syria

11-Sep-2013 @ 16:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

President Obama is right to hold back on military action in exchange for the neutralisation of the Assad chemical arsenal, MEPs heard today.

But he was also right to reserve the right to strike in response to any further use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), said Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock.

The London MEP said Syria remained the most pressing challenge to international peace and security with more than 100,000 dead, two million refugees and now the alleged use by President Assad’s regime of Sarin gas on August 21.

He told a Strasbourg emergency debate on the atrocity: "This violates customary international law under the 1925 Geneva gas Protocol and demands a robust response by the international community."

He repeated his call for a no-fly zone as the only way to deter further use of chemical weapons and force Assad back to the negotiating table, as a limited surgical strike was now likely to be hitting mostly empty buildings.

Dr Tannock said: "I welcome the newest proposal by President Obama to drop its military strike threat, which has really been most effective in bringing Syria to the negotiating table, in exchange for a handover and destruction of Syrian WMDs. The fact that Russia and Iran have readily accepted this is suggestive of an admission that their Baathist regime ally possesses chemical weapons, in spite of Assad’s attempted denial right up to the last minute, and has used them atrociously against its own people.

"This new diplomatic solution raises many challenges not least verification and trust in a totalitarian regime, not known for acting in good faith, not to conceal some of the WMD chemical stockpile and doesn’t solve the problem of impunity for war crimes, already carried out by both sides.

"President Obama has made it clear if this latest proposal fails he reserves the right to use the US military to act surgically and appropriately to deter future use of gas against civilians, but also of course against troops in conflict everywhere, bringing back the horrors of World War I.

"Sadly the military option as a last resort by the US and France may be the only way to prevent any further use of these terrible weapons.

"Lastly I deplore the cynical use by Russia and China of the their veto to prevent the UN Security Council from imposing a political solution on the Syrian crisis."

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