As this falls under the auspices of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, cuddly old Vince Cable - Iraq peacenik turned Syria warhawk - has some explaining to do. Here's some questions that need answers:
1. What was the extent of the Business Secretary's knowledge of this particular deal?
2. Given that the Syrian revolution had, by this point, fallen into bloody civil war, knowing that the Assad regime is a de facto absolutist monarchy with a grim record, that it has chemical weapon manufacturing capabilities and, then, with its back to the wall a clear motive for using them, why was the deal approved?
3. From the perspective of the Foreign Office, the Syrian regime and its regional geopolitical objectives conflict with those of Britain, its regional allies and those of the United States. So why did BIS approve export licenses for chemicals that could, and in all likelihood, would be added to the Assad regime's arsenal, thereby undermining Whitehall's policy preferences for the region? Was no interdepartmental advice sought - damning in and of itself - or was the export of nerve gas ingredients not considered relevant?