Even prior to the vote in a recall session of Parliament, on 29 August -- a vote in which the elected representatives of the British people declined to offer their support thus far, for military action in Syria -- Foreign Secretary William Hague told BBC News that he believed it would be possible for the United Kingdom and its allies to take action in Syria without the UN Security Council’s approval:
We, the United States, many other countries including France, are clear that we can't allow the idea in the 21st century that chemical weapons can be used with impunity.
There are 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and it is these nations that have veto power to stop a resolution from moving forward.
Too Terrible to Contemplate
While there are those who are unable or unwilling to view the evidence that surfaced during the alleged attack on 21 August, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall provides the following passages after having witnessed the video footage:
"We were asleep when we were hit," says one small boy. "My mother put wet clothes on our eyes, it was burning. My father was screaming 'Get out... get out'. We saw a dead body outside as we left the house. My mother fainted and my father started crying. He put me in a car and the car left. I don't know where he is. I don't know where any of them are," he adds, before dissolving into tears. …
And inside one makeshift hospital, where victims are being frantically treated, the call to morning prayer can be heard - a call which usually comes some 45 minutes before sunrise.
Even though the US government says it is still not able to say conclusively that chemical weapons were used, Stephen Johnson, a former British Army Chemical weapons expert now attached to Cranfield University's forensics department, said the mounting visual evidence seemed to point to the use of chemical weapons.
'The scale of this, the number of people who seem to be affected from the videos, the consistency of the symptoms, that's a staggering enterprise to fake - not only staggering to fake but also very easily found out once an investigation takes place.'
Despite its having been shot at by snipers, the UN weapons inspection team visited the site of the suspected attack, gathering biomedical and environmental samples which arrived at the laboratories on 4 September.
Prime Minister David Cameron put in a call to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and according to a Downing Street spokesperson, both leaders acknowledged that the use of chemical weapons called for a "serious response" from the international community as a whole. Yet, at that time, President Putin still expressed uncertainty about “whether a chemical weapons attack had taken place or who was responsible," the spokesman said.
The BBC also reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the UN Security Council – very divided over the conflict in Syria, generally – as yet had not "shouldered its responsibilities."
Although the agenda for the Group of 20 Global Nations (G20) -- founded after the financial crisis of 2008 which had global effects, in order to try to minimize the catastrophe and maximize options for a cooperative approach to economic issues for the good of all nations -- this meeting of the G20 Leaders in St. Petersburg this week had a number of other objectives, the crisis in Syria has now presented an enormous challenge, not only to global economic issues, the global millennium goals and sustainable development, but to the prospect for peace and prosperity in Central Asia and the entire free world.
For an interesting perspective on these issues, Samantha Power describes "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," which won the Pulitzer Prize:
Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy makers, access to newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power provides the answer in "A Problem from Hell," a groundbreaking work that tells the stories of the courageous Americans who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act.
Founder and director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1998 - 2002, Samantha Power currently serves as the 28th Ambassador to the United Nations. Although Ambassador Power is a native of Dublin, Ireland, she grew up in the United States. She was sworn in on August 2, 2013, after a vote of 87 to 10, in confirmation by the United States Senate.