By Jeremy Herb
The British government is delaying a vote to approve military action in Syria until United Nations chemical weapons inspectors finish an investigation into last week’s attack, potentially pushing back the Obama administration’s plans for a possible military strike.
Sky News reported that Britain’s House of Commons would not vote on military involvement on Thursday as it had planned, instead agreeing to vote on a resolution that called for a "strong humanitarian response.” A second vote on military action would occur once the U.N. investigation is completed.
As a result, Parliament might not vote until next week if the British government waits for U.N. inspectors to finish the investigation, as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday the inspectors would need four days to complete their work.
Support from the British government is a key part of the Obama administration’s plan to build up a coalition to launch strikes in Syria, as the backing of the U.N. Security Council is not possible due to Russia’s opposition.
The Obama administration has said it doesn't need to wait for the U.N. investigation because it already has solid evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is behind last week’s alleged chemical attack, in which hundreds were killed.
“The U.N. investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used — a judgment that is already clear to the world,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday. “The regime’s belated decision to allow access is too late, and it’s too late to be credible.”