Russia's foreign minister on Monday dismissed as unconvincing the evidence presented by Secretary of State John Kerry of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government and said the United States had fallen far short of making a case for...
Exclusive poll for The Independent sends clear message as David Cameron resists pressure for second vote.
The Iraq War has turned the British public against any military intervention in the Middle East, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent.
By a margin of two-to-one, the British people oppose President Barack Obama’s plan for military strikes against the Assad regime and say that the UK should keep out of all conflicts in the region for the foreseeable future.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg yesterday rejected growing all-party pressure from MPs and peers for another Commons vote on whether British forces should join air strikes in Syria, only four days after MPs rejected the Prime Minister’s plan to take part.
But Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the Government could revisit the question if circumstances changed “very significantly”.
Opinion at Westminster appears to be shifting in favour of action as the Obama administration produces more evidence about the horrific chemical weapons attack on a suburb near Damascus.
But Mr Cameron shows no signs of risking a second humiliating Commons defeat. Labour will not propose a second vote unless there is a “very significant” change, such as al-Qa’ida obtaining chemical weapons in Syria.
The ComRes survey suggests that MPs were right, at least according to public opinion, to veto air strikes by Britain last Thursday.
It found that only 29 per cent of people agree that the US, without Britain, should launch air strikes against the Assad regime to deter it from using chemical weapons in future, while 57 per cent disagree.
Four out of five people (80 per cent) believe that any military strikes against Syria should first be sanctioned by the United Nations, while 15 per cent disagree with this statement.
Asked whether the experience of the 2003 Iraq war means that Britain should keep out of military conflicts in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, 62 per cent agree and 31 per cent disagree.
A majority of supporters of every party agree with this statement, with Labour and UK Independence Party voters more likely to believe Britain should “keep out” than Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.
Older people are more likely to agree with this principle than younger people. Almost three in four (73 per cent) of those aged 65 and over believe the UK should “keep out”, while among 18 to 34-year-olds, the figure is 57 per cent.
After his Commons rebuff, a majority of people (54 per cent) agree that David Cameron showed he is “out of touch with Britain” in his handling of the Syria crisis, while 34 per cent disagree. Worryingly for the Prime Minister, a third of current Tory supporters (33 per cent) and almost half of voters overall (42 per cent) believe Mr Cameron showed he is out of touch, as do 76 per cent of Ukip supporters.
According to ComRes, Labour’s lead over the Conservatives has risen from three to six points since last month. Labour is unchanged on 37 per cent, the Conservatives on 31 per cent (down three points), the Liberal Democrats on 12 per cent (up two points), Ukip 10 per cent (down two points) and others 10 per cent (up two points).
These figures would give Labour a majority of 78 if repeated at the next general election.
The Liberal Democrats are ahead of Ukip for the first time since last December, as Nigel Farage’s party slips without the publicity it achieved after the May local elections.
As some Labour MPs called for a rethink over British participation in strikes against Syria, Mr Hammond told the Commons it was “a bit rich” for them to do so after voting against military action last week.
Ben Bradshaw, a Labour former Cabinet minister, accused the Government of forcing a rushed decision without presenting the evidence about the chemical weapons attack that was available in Washington.
Andrew Mitchell, the Tory former International Development Secretary, said: “It may be, after lengthy and careful consideration, [the US] Congress affirms its support for the President’s plans and, in the light of that, our Parliament may want to consider this matter further.”
But Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “Parliament has spoken and that is why the Government has absolutely no plans to go back to Parliament.”
Downing Street indicated that Britain does not expect its military bases – such as RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, less than 200 miles from Syria – to be used in any air strikes.
Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, dampened hopes of a re-think by Ed Miliband when he spoke to the Parliamentary Labour Party last night.
ComRes interviewed 1,000 British adults by telephone between 30 August and 1 September. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults and by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
ABC News Russia Says American Evidence on Syria 'Does Not Convince Us at All' ABC News Russia is rejecting American evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria as "inconclusive" and urging the United States to declassify all of its intelligence.
Politico A skeptical Congress begins grilling Obama's team on Syria CBS News Meantime, President Obama, three days after announcing his surprise decision to take his case for direct involvement in Syria's two-year-old conflict to Congress, is on...
Militants tell AP reporter they mishandled Saudi-supplied chemical weapons, causing accident
Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press journalist Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,”writes Gavlak.
Rebels told Gavlak that they were not properly trained on how to handle the chemical weapons or even told what they were. It appears as though the weapons were initially supposed to be given to the Al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” one militant named ‘J’ told Gavlak.
His claims are echoed by another female fighter named ‘K’, who told Gavlak, “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them. We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of an opposition rebel, also told Gavlak, “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” describing them as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.” The father names the Saudi militant who provided the weapons as Abu Ayesha.
According to Abdel-Moneim, the weapons exploded inside a tunnel, killing 12 rebels.
“More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government,” writes Gavlak.
If accurate, this story could completely derail the United States’ rush to attack Syria which has been founded on the “undeniable” justification that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack. Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR).
Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in providing rebels, whom they have vehemently backed at every turn, with chemical weapons, is no surprise given the revelations earlier this week that the Saudis threatened Russia with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi unless they abandoned support for the Syrian President.
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Prince Bandar allegedly told Vladimir Putin, the Telegraph reports.
The Obama administration is set to present its intelligence findings today in an effort prove that Assad’s forces were behind last week’s attack, despite American officials admitting to the New York Times that there is no “smoking gun” that directly links President Assad to the attack.
US intelligence officials also told the Associated Press that the intelligence proving Assad’s culpability is “no slam dunk.”
As we reported earlier this week, intercepted intelligence revealed that the Syrian Defense Ministry was making “panicked” phone calls to Syria’s chemical weapons department demanding answers in the hours after the attack, suggesting that it was not ordered by Assad’s forces.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.