Opposition split on Syria intervention

Venstre and Konservative back non-UN sanctioned action, while Liberal Alliance and support party Enhedslisten prefer humanitarian initiatives.

As the US and the UK continue to mobilise their military forces in preparation for possible intervention in Syria without UN backing, there is not a political consensus in Denmark to do the same.

Leading opposition party Venstre quickly supported the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne), after she announced yesterday that the government would support non-UN sanctioned action in Syria.

“Until now, the government and the prime minister have rejected intervention without UN backing, but now she has changed her tune,” Søren Pind, Venstre’s foreign affairs spokesperson, said in a press release. “I am pleased because Venstre has long believed that we cannot ignore this humanitarian disaster.”

READ MORE: Public opposes acting without UN approval in Syria

Can’t wait for Russia and China
Venstre is backed by fellow opposition party Konservative, which criticised the UN’s inability to act while Russia and China continue to oppose any intervention in Syria.

“We can’t rely on Russia and China in terms of acting. 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict and our patience with Russia and China has been exhausted since they have not made efforts to protect the civilian population," Lene Espersen, a spokesperson for Konservative, told Ræson news magazine.

Support for action without the consent of the UN Security Council has increased over the past few days after reports surfaced that the President Bashar al-Assad’s forces employed chemical weapons near Damascus, killing hundreds of civilians.

Humanitarian aid needed, not bombs
But, along with far-left support party Enhedslisten, libertarian party Liberal Alliance (LA) strongly opposes intervention without UN approval.

“Peace requires a political solution that the parties involved in the civil war can find on their own. LA supports massive international humanitarian aid assistance to the civilians, such as establishing safe corridors and zones so aid can reach needed areas,” Mette Brock, an LA spokesperson, told Ræson.

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, a professor at the Centre of Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen, argued that a military intervention would only serve to strengthen Assad’s position.

“A bomb attack would reduce some of Assad’s options, but it would also mobilise a lot of support for him, both in Syria and beyond,” Rasmussen told DR Nyheder. “Iran and Russia will support Assad and the conflict will not be solved.”

Who are we supporting?

Right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is also against Denmark getting involved in Syria, arguing that it wasn't about UN approval to them, but rather who Denmark would be fighting for if they did go into the country.

"If we go to war then who are we supporting? It could look like we are supporting the Jihadists who are shooting up pictures of Naser Khader," DF spokesperson, Søren Espersen, told BT tabloid.

While the international community continues to call for evidence of the Syrian regime’s reported use of chemical weapons, sources in Washington said that the US government would reveal proof of the nerve gas attack sometime on Thursday.





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