UNITED KINGDOM (OBSERVATORY) – British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing criticism from her country’s opposition after taking part in military strikes against Syria on Saturday without consulting parliament.
While May explained the reasons for her participation in the strikes, opposition parties said the attacks were legal and threatened to escalate the dispute and parliament’s approval had to be taken before it was launched.
The shadow of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 hangs on the corridors of the British parliament, which agreed to the participation of then Prime Minister Tony Blair in the invasion of Iraq.
“The bombs will not save lives and will not bring peace,” said opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“This legally dubious act threatens to further escalate the destructive conflict. Teresa May had to seek parliament’s approval and not join Donald Trump.”
The “Stop the War” organization, a peaceful coalition led by Corbyn, called for a demonstration in front of the British parliament on Monday to protest the strikes.
The organization said it “strongly condemns” the action, accusing the FBI of “permitting the killing” on behalf of US President Donald Trump.
Often when the British government decides to take military action, the opposition offers its full support, but this trend has not prevailed in recent years.
British MPs refused to take military action against Damascus in 2013 in a plan widely seen as a confirmation of the parliament’s authority over the use of force.
It was the first time that parliament rejected the government’s participation in military action.
“As we have seen in the past, the lack of action has its consequences,” David Cameron, who was prime minister in 2013, said on Saturday.
The parliament supported the move in Iraq in 2014 and in Syria in 2015, but the condition of limited strikes in both countries on the objectives of the organization of the Islamic State.
Many British opposition parties have condemned the rush for quick action because of a presumed chemical attack on the town of Douma on April 9. They called on the parties to call parliament for a session.
– “Right and Legal” –
On Thursday, May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the possible military response.
After listening to legal, security and defense advice, it concluded that it was “right and legal” to carry out military action.
The prime minister can launch military action without parliamentary approval. But after the conservatives took power in 2010, the government said that since voting to participate in the war in Iraq in 2003, it had become known that parliament’s approval should be obtained only in emergency situations.
In the attacks launched by Britain in alliance with the United States and France on Saturday, four British Tornado aircraft fired “Storm Shadow” missiles at a Syrian military base suspected of containing chemical weapons materials. The strikes took place at 0100 GMT, 24 kilometers west of Homs.
Prime Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said Syria’s use of chemical weapons could not be tolerated, but doubted the ability of the strikes to stop the use of those weapons or contribute to ending the Syrian war.
“This action could lead to an escalation of the civil war in Syria, as well as a serious escalation of global tensions,” said Sturgeon, leader of the leftist Scottish National Party, the third largest party in parliament.
“The prime minister must confirm that no further work will be done … without full debate in parliament,” she said.
– Walk in the ride of Trump –
The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Fens Keble, accused the MP of “riding the rude US president.”
“It shows a weak government that puts political benefit before democracy, and thus undermines Britain’s standing in the world,” he said.
Before Saturday’s attacks, former finance minister Kenneth Clarke said not to consult the parliament first “would be a very retrograde step.”
But some supported May.
The Conservatives are counting on the support of the Unionist Democratic Party, Ireland’s largest party, to win a majority in parliament.
Arlen Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, said she spoke to Mai and that the strikes were “limited but not excessive and justified.”
Nigel Dodds, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, said Mai had full authority to launch the strikes.
“We reject the suggestion that they are not authorized to do so.”
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Conservative Party in parliament and a former army officer, said Mai “made the right decision.”