Yes, says Colonel Richard Kemp, Ex-chairman of the Cabinet Office’s COBRA Intelligence Group

Article published in The Daily Express, 9 April 2017. © Richard Kemp 

If the latest chemical attack in Syria is verified, the US should hit back and Britain must play a leading role.

President Trump’s cruise missile strike following a Sarin nerve agent attack one year ago failed to deter Assad which means much stronger action is needed this time.

Russia’s presence makes the risks of escalation greater. Assad is counting on that to deter Western retaliation.

We should not fear Russia but we should avoid hitting their forces on the ground in Syria.

Why should we take such risks? As a permanent member of the UN Security Council we have global responsibilities – including prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.Rightly outraged by Russian use of nerve agent against one person in Britain, we cannot confine ourselves to ineffective speeches in the Security Council while the world’s most violent despot gases hundreds of his own people.

There are even bigger stakes. President Obama’s failure to enforce his red line against Syrian chemical weapons use in 2013 emboldened not only Assad but also Russia.