Obama to go it alone in Syria after UK snub

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The U.K. parliament voted Thursday against any intervention in the Syrian civil war, likely wrecking President Barack Obama’s personal effort to assemble a coalition of willing partners.

In response, White House officials told The New York Times that he would go it alone, if necessary, to retaliate against Syria’s government for gassing hundreds of its civilians Aug. 21.

“Obama is willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council, senior administration officials said Thursday,” the newspaper reported(RELATED: Obama eyes ‘discrete’ attack in Syria)

Obama is also trying to win support from France, Canada and Australia.

His deputies have said he can’t get backing from the United Nations, partly because Russia and China would veto any proposals in the United Nations to authorize air strikes on Syria’s military.

The U.K.’s refusal to support strikes on Syria is a blow to Obama, partly because the U.K. was Obama’s first choice for a partner.

Also, the U.K. parliament vetoed the move by 285 to 272 votes, for reasons that Obama had cited when he was denouncing President George W. Bush’s successful campaign in 2003 to depose Iraq’s dictator.

Obama had reached out to the U.K.’s prime minister, David Cameron, on Aug. 24 and again on the Aug. 27.

“The two leaders expressed their grave concern about the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians near Damascus on Wednesday, August 21,” said a White House statement issued after the Aug. 24 conversation.

“The President and Prime Minister will continue to consult closely regarding this incident, as well as possible responses by the international community to the use of chemical weapons,” it added.

“The two leaders discussed possible responses by the international community to the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons on August 21 and agreed to stay in close consultation in the coming days,” said an Aug. 27 statement from the White House.

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