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G20 Split Over Syrian Action

Aug 1, 2010
Syria was not officially meant to be on the G20 agenda but it was expected to dominate the proceedings during the meeting of world leaders, which took place in Russia this week. This certainly turned out to be the case and it has been reported that those attending were split on what action to take. Some deny that the Syrian government were responsible while, on the other side, there are those that believe military action is the only viable option. There are also those, like the UK, that somewhere in the middle.

A chemical weapon attack in Damascus last month left 1,400 dead and the world watched on as they witnessed footage of adults and children being gassed to death. It saw public sentiment run understandably high and it led to the early recalling of parliament from the summer break and a vote on whether military action should be taken; a vote which David Cameron, who supports a military strike, ultimately lost. However, the Prime Minister continued the fight during the G20 summit.

The attack took place following three years of bitter fighting led by the uprising against President Bashar al Assad. Testing has shown that sarin gas and other chemical agents were used as remnants were found in the soil and on clothing taken from the site in August. While there is certainly no debate over the type of attack or the severity of it, there is some disagreement over who was responsible for it.

David Cameron and US President Barrack Obama have openly stated that they believe the attack came from Assad and his army but both Russian and China, both allies of the Syrian government, have said that it was the rebels that were responsible. The Assad regime has also reiterated this point. While the G20 summit should have been used as a platform to discuss various world issues, including the current state of world economies, it has instead been used to discuss what action, if any, should be taken over the attacks.

France and the USA are the only countries that support a military strike but PM David Cameron fought strongly for the UK to join them. It is fair to say that the US have the most vehement voice in this issue, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power accusing Russia of holding the council to ransom by preventing any action from being taken. She accused Russia of shirking its national responsibilities and David Cameron hit out at Labour saying that they must live with the image of children being gassed to death and taking no action.

The Syrian government wrote to the UN council urging them not to use military force but open dialogue in order to debate the issue and even the Pope has joined in the debate. He sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking that the council nations end their futile pursuit of military action against the nation. It is estimated that one third of Syria’s population are now refugees looking to head abroad or find alternative places to live.


Longterm Registered User
Oct 3, 2012
Pres Obama is scheduled to address the American nation next Tues (Sep 10'th). It doesn't seem like he would do that unless he had something specific to say. It's unclear what will develop, since the approach of the Administration seems to be to ask for Congressional approval before any strikes. Public opinion pols within the USA are running at roughly 80% opposed to any strike. Will Congress defy this sentiment - it's hard to say. Previous presidents have often avoided consulting Congress for limited military interventions.

If the US and France do hit Syria, very likely there will be some sort of terrorist retaliation against American and French interests.



Longterm Registered User
Mar 21, 2009
I suppose it could also be argued that. conversely, if there is no action, then various terrorist/fundamentalist groups could be emboldened to carry out increased attacks against western interests.
The whole thing has become a lose-lose scenario for the west. Damned if 'we' do, damned if 'we' don't.


Longterm Registered User
Sep 19, 2008
The guys fighting against the Assad govt are the same guys who (with western SF and lots of airstrikes) managed to get rid of Muammar in Libya.
Libya is no longer the stable, prosperous country it once was.
The same will happen to Syria.
One minute they're against us ("and hate our freedoms") the next we're with them and chucking lots of money and equipment and "advisors" at them.
Our govts create the problem by funding these loonies in the 1st place. Without western intervention over the last 2yrs, Assad would have put this revolt down a long time ago.
It does look as though it's all fcuked - but going to plan.
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