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Ghosts of Iraq war force Britain to delay immediate Syria strike

By Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Osborn

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans for an imminent military strike on Syria were in disarray on Thursday after a revolt by lawmakers warning him to heed the “lessons of Iraq”.

After imploring the world not to stand idly by over Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons, Cameron was forced into an awkward climbdown on Wednesday when the opposition Labour party and lawmakers in his own party said they wanted more evidence before voting for military action.

The government was due to publish an opinion from one of its top advisers on Thursday about the legality of such a strike, as well as an intelligence dossier expected to back up its assertions that the Syrian government was to blame for an apparent poison gas attack that killed hundreds last week.

Dogging Cameron’s steps is the memory of events a decade ago, when Britain helped the United States to invade Iraq after asserting – wrongly, as it later turned out – that dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

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