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Pacifism or Pragmatism? The 2013 Parliamentary Vote on Military Action in Syria

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Abigail Watson
29 May 2018

Summary

This briefing examines the 2013 parliamentary vote on whether to take military action in Syria. Several commentators have argued that the 2013 Syria vote was a marker of parliamentary pacifism and a symbol of the perils of democratising the decision to use force. This briefing uses the transcript of the debate and recent interviews to assess the validity of these claims. The research suggests that, far from being a statement of parliamentary pacifism, the vote was a result of parliamentary pragmatism in the face of an unconvincing strategy for how British military strikes would build stability in Syria.

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Image credit: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr


About the Author

Abigail Watson is a research officer at the Oxford Research Group’s Remote Warfare Programme. She researches and presents on the military, legal, and political implications of light-footprint warfare. She can be found on Twitter at @remote_warfare.

 

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