The international debate over what to do about the Syrian conflict continues today, and America and Great Britain continue to push the case for intervention. We'll have updates on all the latest Syrian news throughout the day.
The British government has released the first of what they have promised will be a series of documents outlining the case for action in Syria, starting with their legal justification for military action. The brief, which was posted on their website on Thursday morning, argues that the legal basis for any attack would essentially be humanitarian. Assad has used chemical weapons, and he will use them again unless he is stopped. They also argue that they don't need approval from the United Nations to act "under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention," provided there is no other alternative to force and "the minimum necessary to achieve that [humanitarian] end and for no other purpose." Cameron reiterated again on Thursday that regime change is not the goal.
In addition to the legal case, the British Joint Intelligence Organisation reported today that they believe the Syrian government "has used chemical weapons on a smaller scale on at least 14 occasions in the past," even before the attack last week.
Unfortunately, for Prime Minister David Cameron, it's no longer the Security Council he has to convince. He is reportedly facing some opposition to his plan in Parliament, where Labour party leaders are questioning if the evidence against Syria is strong enough. At the very least it could lead to delay on any proposed strikes and both the U.S. and the U.K. want to remain in lock-step going forward. Neither wants to act alone and risk being seen as unilateral actor. (Even if France has said they're ready to go along.)
If you'd like to watch the British parliamentary debate, it's happening right now on the BBC.
Meanwhile, in Syria, the state news agency published comments from Bashar al-Assad saying that Syria will defend itself against any aggression.
11:02 a.m.: While the debate continues to rage the media to prominent publications have come out in favor of doing more, not less. This is the cover of the new The Economist:
This week's cover preview: Hit him hard. August 31st – September 6th 2013 pic.twitter.com/rN2UkNx891— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 29, 2013
Meanwhile, the New York Post argues that if we're going to get involved at all, we should go all the way and remove Assad from power. (Though the opinion column is mostly written as a complaint about Obama's foreign policy.) Michael Weiss at Foreign Affairs also made that case yesterday.