Obama said to be preparing legal justification for Syria attack

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius last week warned of a “reaction with force” to the latest violence, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC on Monday that “diplomacy has not worked” in Syria. 

He said action “based on great humanitarian need and distress” could be taken “in accordance with international law” even “without complete unity on the U.N. Security Council,” where opposition from Russia and China has stymied an international response since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011.

“There is no doubt that a failure to act now will have long term consequences on the strength of the United Nations,” Hague told the BBC, “and above all on our capacity to control the use of the weapons of mass destruction.”

In the other corner, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov preemptively warned Monday that any military action without the consent of the Security Council — where his country has veto power —would be a “very grave violation of international law” that would “sharply aggravate” the situation. 

His office then took to Twitter to make the case that this summer's G-8 declaration “states any use of chemical weapons in Syria must be fully investigated and the results shown to the UNSC.”

“We have no plans to go to war with anyone,” Lavrov said on Russian television. “If anybody thinks that bombing and destroying the Syrian military infrastructure, and leaving the battlefield for the opponents of the regime to win, would end everything — that is an illusion.”

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