Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

May to talk to Trump on Assad chemical attack on Syria's Douma

Trump and May (archive)


British PM Theresa May said she would talk to President Donald Trump on Tuesday about the Assad forces chemical attack on Syria's Douma that killed dozens including women and children, Reuters reported.


The expected talks comes amid endeavors by the Trump Administration to take a multinational military response against Assad regime.


The Saturday chemical attack left more than 70 killed. Rights groups said more than 500 were admitted into hospitals for medical treatment. 


Following the attack, US officials said military options were being developed.

May, wary of the domestic political risks of promising military action, has so far focused on the need to discover the facts about the attack and establish a common international response.

But, she has also said that those responsible must be held to account and British diplomats have indicated that all options remain on the table.

“I’ll be continuing to talk with our allies and partners as I have done, speaking to President Macron this morning, and I’ll be speaking to President Trump later today,” she told reporters in Cambridgeshire in eastern England.

Britain currently conducts air strikes in Syria from its military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the Islamic State group.

Parliament voted down British military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s government in 2013, in a major embarrassment for May’s predecessor David Cameron that then deterred the U.S. administration of Barack Obama from similar action.

When asked whether Britain would join the United States if Washington decided on further military action in Syria, May on Tuesday declined to answer the question directly but said: “We believe that those responsible should be held to account.”


Some members of May’s party have already called for her to consider committing to a military response without seeking parliament’s approval. The British parliament is currently not in session, and resumes on April 16.

May is not legally bound to get parliamentary approval before taking military action.
However, a non-binding constitutional convention to seek approval has been established following a 2003 vote on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It has been observed in subsequent military deployments in Libya and Iraq.

“The prime minister has the ability to call military action at any time,” said Catherine Haddon, senior fellow at the Institute For Government think-tank.

“The parliamentary convention is just that - it’s a convention. Legally in terms of our constitution that power, the power to go to war, is still a Royal Prerogative and that means that it is exercised by the government on behalf of the crown.”

May said she would chair a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council later on Tuesday.
Any decision to press ahead with military action without debate by parliament is fraught with political danger for May, whose government does not have a majority in Britain’s 650-seat house and relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party to govern.

With less than a year until Britain leaves the European Union, May is looking to deepen the so-called “special relationship” between her country and the United States with a wide-ranging free trade deal that would help cushion the impact of Brexit.