Defense One reports that the U.S. won’t seek U.N. or NATO authorization for military action in Syria:
With its military ready to attack Syria on President Obama’s command, the United States is no longer pursuing a United Nations or NATO stamp of approval to respond with force to the purported deployment of chemical weapons.
Instead, the U.S. has focused on building a rapid coalition consisting of the United Kingdom, France and several Arab states, by sharing intelligence evidence that U.S. officials say proves Bashir al Assad’s regime was responsible for last week’s chemical weapons attack.
It’s no surprise that Obama isn’t going to go to the U.N. There was never any chance of receiving U.N. authorization for attacking Syria. It is interesting that the U.S. won’t even try to get NATO support for the attack, which suggests that support for military action inside NATO is just as weak as I suspected. It’s also possible that the U.S. wanted to avoid going through the motions of obtaining a NATO endorsement that wouldn’t translate into practical help. After all, there’s no sense in straining relations with reluctant NATO members when there is no good reason to pressure them into supporting the attack. In practice, the governments involved in this attack will be more or less the same ones that intervened in Libya, but there will be no illusion of international approval or alliance backing that the Libyan war received. If NATO had endorsed the action, it wouldn’t make it any more legal, but it would have created the superficial impression of a Western consensus in favor of it. As it is, the attack will most likely be backed by the U.S., Britain, and France, plus the activist Gulf monarchies that have been doing their part to worsen Syria’s conflict.
Update: It now appears that the pro-rebel Arab governments will not publicly support the strikes:
The lack of public endorsement from Arab governments, even from Saudi Arabia and other countries that have helped arm, train and fund rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaves the West with little political cover regionally should any Western-led attack go badly.