The UK joined the US and France in launching air strikes in Syria, but with an impossibly complex situation, was it the right course of action?
At some point on Saturday morning you’ll have got out of bed, checked your phone and thought to yourself “wait, are we at war now?”
Air strikes were launched on Syria, led by the United States and supported by the UK and France, with those responsible citing suspected use of chemical weapons by the country’s leader Bashar Al-Assad.
Debates have persisted over the justification for the attack, and whether Parliament should have been consulted before the decision was taken.
However, regardless of your view on the merit of the decision, many are pointing out a bigger issue with the situation.
Prime Minister Theresa May authorised the strikes following a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma – Syria denies the use of chemicals.
As the BBC reports, there is no direct legal requirement for the PM to consult Parliament before such a campaign, though consultations have happened in relation to comparable situations ever since the controversial decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
The PM is expected to face questions from members of parliament opposed to the decision, though there is another line of debate which united those who are pro, anti, or largely ambivalent towards such interventionism.
It’s a debate common to the UK and the US, and many feel it exposes a level of hypocrisy among decision-makers.
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn has called for diplomacy rather than immediate military action, and questions will surely be asked in relation to the information used as justification for the attack.
However, support or otherwise for military action in such circumstances is distinct from the very serious debate over the UK’s response to the refugee situation.
An estimated 5.6m refugees are thought to be seeking asylum outside Syria, with the number having doubled since the end of 2014.
According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), the majority of the displaced Syrian citizens are now in Turkey or Lebanon, with estimates suggesting fewer than 30,000 have been taken in by the United Kingdom and the United States combined.
Back in 2015, when then-PM David Cameron pledged to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, Turkey had already taken in close to 2m.
As things stand, the countries prepared to launch air strikes, purportedly to protect Syrian citizens from Assad, are happy to choose this method but unprepared to take in the large numbers of individuals displaced as a direct result of what has been happening in their country for a number of years.