British PM to Risk Parliament Vote on Syrian Airstrikes

Urges Opposition to Defy Their Leader, Endorse War Escalation

When Britain’s parliament approved its involvement in a war against ISIS, they made it clear that they were only approving airstrikes in Iraq, and explicitly ruled out any strikes in Syria without a new resolution. Prime Minister David Cameron initially sought to circumvent that by “embedding” planes with Canadian units who were already attacking Syria, but now is looking to get parliament to formally approve the escalation.

The move is seen as risky, with tepid support among his own party meaning he’s going to have to rely heavily on opposition Labour MPs, and a failed vote would be a particular embarrassment at a time when Cameron is trying to present himself as ratcheting up the conflict dramatically.

This has Cameron pressuring Labour MPs to defy their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is opposed to the conflict and warns increased British involvement will only fuel extremism and ultimately benefit ISIS.

Cameron is also under fire from all sides in the parliament for claims last week that there are 70,000 moderate fighters willing to ally with Britain, a figure for which he claims secret evidence but which even members of his own party called preposterously high.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.