This paper reflects the views of its authors, not those of ECFR.
- Deterring the use of chemical weapons is a clear priority for the international community. However, despite various deterrence strategies over the years, international institutions are failing to manage the problem.
- In any request to the UK to offer practical support to the US and/or France in responding to another chemical attack in Syria, the UK government must address questions regarding the threshold for military action; the intelligence designating responsibility for chemical attacks, the legality and limitations of proposed action; and how an intervention would fit into the UK’s wider policy for resolving the conflict in Syria.
- Learning lessons from the hastily prepared motion following the 2013 sarin gas attack in Ghouta, parliament should consider voting on a pre-emptive motion that would authorise military action should another serious chemical weapon attack be launched.
- Passing a pre-emptive motion would allow the UK to move swiftly in the event of another attack and the motion itself – especially if coordinated with positions of the US and France, or other European partners – could act as a deterrent in and of itself.