There was disarray in the UK Parliament last night on the question of whether or not to intervene in Syria as evidence emerged that President Bashar Al-Assad may actually be a meerkat.
Despite some suggestion that he may be a tyrannical despot involved in the murder of his people through high explosives and, latterly, chemical weapons, a majority of the British parliament remains convinced that he is a small furry mammal far more interested in selling insurance products than slaughtering innocent civilians.
Opposition politicians and several Tory MPs, including a couple of forgetful government ministers, dismissed evidence that Assad was actually and dementedly human, and produced evidence of pamphlets that he had distributed which offered great deals for couples with a home, or cars, or even landlords which they could pass for scrutiny under the eyes of inspectors from trading standards, before even thinking about taking appropriate action.
The vote on whether in principle British forces should be used to fire missiles at Syrian government assets to prevent any more attacks on civilians was further scuppered by alternative views that it might be better to humanely leave a trail of peanuts all the way to the bushes and get rid of him that way instead.
'Part of NATO's role is to bring stability in crisis zones where civilians are in danger,' said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, head of NATO, 'but imagine the public horror if we launched a load of missiles at the House of Meerkovo on prime-time television and showed the results. That tattered and torn smoking jacket. Those soft toys strewn everywhere away from the dignity of their packaging. We lose the battle for hearts and minds, right there."
However, the situation remains tense and in stalemate after a ten-hour debate in the House of Commons failed to agree whether Assad looks more like 'Sergei' or 'Aleksandr'.
The US government dismissed the need to wait, citing the fact that all the meerkats they've come across appear to have implausible Russian accents which they claim only strengthens their suspicions that Al-Assad is probably human after all. 'And if anyone in the Syrian regime dares to say 'Simples',' said US secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, 'We'll nuke 'em all to hell.'