Ahead of the G-7 meeting, one aspect of which is shaping up to be sideline meetings among the Seven and a number of Arab nations who were invited to discuss Syria, the question of additional sanctions against Syria (and Russia) has come up.  However,

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said that G-7 foreign ministers haven’t agreed to fresh sanctions on Syria following a suspected chemical attack.

The group reached “no consensus on new sanctions to attain the goal we are aiming for[.]”

Indeed, in the realization of the event,

Germany and Italy vetoed the idea of targeting Russian and Syrian military leaders until an investigation has been carried out into who was to blame for last week’s nerve gas attack in Idlib province.

Any excuse for avoiding action will do, apparently.

The actual rationale for such hesitation, though, is unclear to me.  In the first place, investigations of various sorts have occurred, and there is no “suspected” to the chemical attack; it plainly occurred.  Turkish autopsies have confirmed the attack.  It’s also the case that the Syrian government (read: President Bashar al-Assad) is responsible for ordering the attack: not even his master and benefactor Vladimir Putin could have ordered the attack without al-Assad’s permission.  It’s also clear that the Syrian air force executed the attack: no one else in the nation has the capability to deliver the attack other than Russia and the United States, and Russia has much too much to lose were it to have done so and got caught at it.

It may be that sanctions won’t achieve the goals we are aiming for, but it is crystalline that nothing productive will be achieved without sanctions being applied.  The European dithering will have counter-productive results, though.

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