The British House of Commons, which was recalled from its recess, is currently debating military intervention in Syria.
The British government said today that it was "highly likely" that the Assad regime was responsible for a chemical attack near Damascus last week and that a military intervention could take place without the backing of the United Nations, a position similar to the one expressed by the Obama administration yesterday.
In today's debate in the House of Commons Prime Minister made it clear that there was "no 100 percent certainty about who is responsible." Yesterday I wrote about an article posted on Foreign Policy's "The Cable" blog, which mentions that the U.S. is confident that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack near Damascus last week because of intercepted phone calls between an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense and the commander of a chemical weapons unit made shortly after the attack.
In today's debate in the House of Commons there is unfortunately a worrying level of support, as well as some hesitancy, regarding some sort of intervention in Syria. However, despite some of the worrying opinions expressed, it is nice to see the issue being debated.
On this side of the Atlantic there is little indication that Obama will ask Congress to authorize a military intervention. Obama's lack of communication or consultation with Congress on the situation in Syria has upset some members of Congress.
Yesterday Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that it is Congress, not the president, that declares war and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.) wrote a letter to Obama asking 14 questions about possible military intervention in Syria. In what is perhaps the most notable expression Congress' frustration with Obama over a possible military intervention in Syria 116 Congressman (98 Republicans, 18 Democrats) signed a letter asking the president to "consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria." Read Reason's Jacob Sullum's take on the letter here.
It was recently reported that a fifth American warship is being sent to the Mediterranean, the latest sign that some sort of military intervention in Syria will soon begin. If a U.S. military intervention in Syria does take place it unfortunately looks unlikely that American legislators will of had a say in the matter.