This week has seen Syria remain the focus of media attention, with Parliament blocking Cameron’s desire to use military action in the country. However, Cameron has promised that the UK will “lead the world” in supplying humanitarian aid to Syria which has been overshadowed by Obama’s strong belief in using military force to resolve the situation. This demonstrates how thousands can be helped without calling upon intervention, as vital aid can still be supplied to those in dire need.
Previously in the week Cameron’s bid to use the military to protect the civilians of Syria was overruled by parliament; both members of the opposition, his coalition partners and his own party voted against it, reflecting the wishes of the people after the Iraq war. In turn, this setback has encouraged Cameron to draw the conclusion that the most apt solution to the problems facing Syria is to leave alone the ideological and religious battle that is currently taking place, and instead to primarily focus on supplying aid to the thousands who need it the most.
Cameron said that although he is “not planning to return to Parliament to ask again about British military action…that does not mean we do nothing on Syria”. The UK already provides the second largest amount of humanitarian aid to countries such as Syria and Jordan, and this will continue into the future. Cameron’s speech also demonstrates the Prime Minister’s belief in the constitutional principle of parliamentary sovereignty, showing he places the wishes of parliament as a whole above his own; a reason to put faith in the British political system.
Britain has a £348 million commitment to supplying humanitarian aid that Cameron claims has already saved “tens of thousands of lives”. It is estimated by the UN that one-third of Syria’s population have already been disrupted due to the civil war, and it is vital that these people are given aid to ensure poverty is eradicated. Cameron reiterated this point by stating “Britain, as ever, is a world leader in helping those who need help and the people of Syria are right up there at the front of that right now”.
It is hoped by Cameron that the G20 meeting in St Petersburg this week will focus on Syria and solutions to the problems that are occurring there and will give the opportunity for world leaders to voice their opinions. A vote against military intervention will, however, provoke the government into anything but sitting back and allowing the current state of affairs to continue. Foreign Secretary William Hague hopes that the western world can “bring about a transitional government in Syria, formed from government and opposition by mutual consent”.
It is of vital importance that western hegemony and democratic beliefs are put aside and instead focus is placed upon the necessity of supplying aid to the civilians who are in desperate need of it. The UK have therefore side-lined a military commitment and are instead focusing upon humanitarian aid for Syrians in an attempt to restore a sense of normality and hope.