Prime Minister David Cameron says strikes in Syria would be lawful on the basis of protecting neighboring Iraq

Britain joins coalition with vote to strike ISIS


The British Parliament voted overwhemingly on Friday to approve airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), joining the coalition led by the United States.

The House of Commons voted 524 to 43 to approve the strikes. The measure authorizes strikes only in Iraq, stating that those in Syria would be subject to a separate vote. It also notes that ground troops will not be deployed in combat.

The BBC reports, however, that Prime Minister David Cameron says strikes in Syria would be lawful on the basis of protecting neighboring Iraq.

Some lawmakers in the United States have pointed to the British vote to show that Congress should also vote on authorization.

“The British have a great deal to be proud of: the debate they’re having over the war, that’s exactly the debate we need to be having here at home,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Friday on MSNBC.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) wrote on Twitter: “Watching CNN live stream of UK parliament debate on its AUMF to support Iraq against ISIS. That’s how to debate. Can we have one?”

White House officials praised the British vote but argued a congressional vote is not required in the U.S because the 2001 authorization to take on the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks still applies.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett called news of the vote “terrific,” saying it adds another name to the growing coalition to defeat ISIS.

“It is very important,” she said on MSNBC. “Obviously Great Britain is an integral, important ally to the United States and the debate was vigorous, and we are very encouraged that they decided to join what is an increasingly growing coalition that further isolates a terrorist group.”

White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri contrasted the U.S. and Britain.

“It’s something that the United Kingdom, they do need to take this vote, because they don’t have that authority,” she said on MSNBC before the vote.

She added: “We have something on the books that the president can use, and he’s always going to take whatever action he needs to to keep the American people safe.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the vote a sign of “strong support for the plan that the president has put forward” and of the British commitment to destroying ISIS.

“The United States and United Kingdom have a special relationship, and we are pleased to see the strong support from members of Parliament for members of the British military working alongside U.S. servicemen and -women in pursuit of this goal that benefits countries all around the globe, including the United States and the U.K.,” Earnest said.

The White House spokesman cast the British commitment as the latest in a string of diplomatic wins for the administration, pointing out that Belgium and Denmark also announced recently they would contribute fighter jets to the cause.