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Category Archives: Syria

Al Qaeda Statement Breaking with ISIS

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Monday, February 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Courtesy of Aaron Zelin and his indispensable Jihadology blog, here is the latest dust-up in the Al Qaeda family: “On the Relationship of Qā’idat al-Jihād and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām.”  

A Snag in the Destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons?

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Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:15 PM

After months of good news, the mission to wipe out Syria’s chemical arsenal may have run into trouble. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is charged with ensuring disposal of the weapons, met last week to figure out what to do about a process that the U.S. Ambassador described as “languished . . .
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Syria, the Security Council, and the Chemical Weapons Convention: a Reply to Jens Iverson

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Monday, November 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In his response earlier this week, Jens Iverson correctly points out that the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits states parties from “retain[ing]” chemical weapons.  And states do, of course, keep their stockpiles (after inventory and sealing by the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons, or “OPCW”) until they are destroyed. But a close reading of . . .
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On the Transfer of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

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Friday, November 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In an excellent Lawfare post last month, Does the U.N.’s Syria Resolution Violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?  Faiza Patel asserts that if Syria sent chemical weapons to another country, Syria would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).  The conclusion stems from her reasonable, though (to my eye) exceedingly literal reading of the CWC—which bans the . . .
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Thoughts About the Obama Administration’s Counterterrorism Paradigm in Light of the Al-Liby and Ikrima Operations

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Mary DeRosa and Marty Lederman, both of whom were senior national security lawyers in the Obama administration, have a helpful if somewhat hopeful post at Just Security on the significance of the recent al-Liby and Ikrima capture operations.  The post is long, but I would summarize it as follows (this is my summary, not theirs): . . .
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Does the U.N.’s Syria Resolution Violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

As inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons begin their inspections in Syria, they could find themselves on a collision course with the United Nations Security Council resolution that put them there in the first place. Created in 1997, the OPCW’s job is to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that . . .
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Is the “Covert Action” in Syria Actually a Covert Action?

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Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I have noted how openly the United States has been leaking information about its covert action to support moderate Syrian rebels – from its inception through the supposed recent ramp-up.  I notice via a post by Marcy Wheeler that the ostensible covert action was discussed openly and explicitly by senior Executive branch officials – the . . .
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Two Notes on Secrecy v. Transparency in the National Security World

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Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Two pieces in the news worth noting on the issue of secrecy v. transparency in the U.S. intelligence world.  First, The Guardian reports that former DRNSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden said in London: “It’s clear to me now that in liberal democracies the security services don’t get to do what they do without broad public understanding . . .
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The Security Council Resolution on Syria: Is it Legally Binding?

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Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM

There has been much commentary about the fact that the new (and as yet unnumbered) U.N. Security Council Resolution on Syria is not explicitly a “Chapter VII” resolution.  (Chapter VII of the UN Charter specifies actions the Security Council may take in response to threats to international peace and security.  Resolutions adopted under Chapter VII . . .
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Text of Draft Syrian Resolution

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Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:33 AM

The NYT has the text of the draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria.  The most important paragraph is the penultimate one, which states that the Security Council “[d]ecides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab . . .
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Syria Weapons Inspections: Iraq Redux?

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Mark Twain supposedly said “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”   President Obama and Secretary John Kerry must hate the rhyme, as their frustrating experience confronting Assad and Syria echoes more and more President Bush’s experience with Saddam and Iraq during the summer and fall of 2002. And now the agreement reportedly hammered out in Geneva . . .
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Bethlehem and Verdirame on the Legality of Syria Intervention

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Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

For those interested in arguments about international law and possible military intervention in Syria, I highly recommend great essays by two authors from the United Kingdom (as readers may recall, the UK government recently released a position paper justifying possible military action under a humanitarian intervention theory similar to the one articulated by the UK . . .
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White House Counsel’s Legal Justification for Syria Intervention

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Monday, September 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Julian Ku is right to poke fun at the administration for conveying its vague and conclusory legal rationale for intervening in Syria through the reporting of the NYT’s Charlie Savage.  But vague and conclusory guidance via the NYT is better than no guidance at all. On the international law rationale for intervention, Savage says: Kathryn . . .
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Tanenhaus on the Presidency

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Monday, September 9, 2013 at 4:18 AM

Sam Tanenhaus had an essay over the weekend in the NYT that I think is at bottom a “little c” conservative critique of President Obama’s Syria push.  But the essay makes little sense, at least to me. Tanenhaus starts with the claim that President Obama “holds office at a time when the presidency itself has ceded . . .
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A Word on the Brookings Syria Event from Thursday

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Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 10:55 AM

I normally let our podcast posts speak for themselves, but I want to say a particular word about the event Brookings held on Thursday, which Wells just posted as the latest episode of the Lawfare Podcast. It’s an unusually thoughtful and excellent discussion, featuring a diverse array of perspectives and analytical expertise. And I urge readers . . .
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Manchin/Heitcamp Syria Proposal and the Vienna Convention on Treaties

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Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Senators Manchin and Heitcamp are working on an alternative Syria Resolution that tentatively provides: The failure by the government of Bashar al-Assad to sign and comply with the [Chemical Weapons] Convention clearly demonstrates a disregard of international norms on the use of chemical weapons. If the Government of Syria does not sign the Convention within . . .
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Resources on Conflict in Syria from CRS

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Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Steven Aftergood from Secrecy News has helpfully posted new and updated Congressional Research Service reports on the conflict in Syria: Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress, September 3, 2013 Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response, September 4, 2013 Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress, August 30, 2013

President Obama Seems to (Begin to) Back Away from Decision to Intervene in Syria

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Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Last Saturday President Obama said he had “decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets,” and that he had made that decision “as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests.”  (My emphasis.) After a week in which he has failed to garner much support for . . .
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Dehn on Syria and Humanitarian Intervention

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Friday, September 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

John Dehn, a professor at  Loyola University Chicago School of Law and  a Senior Fellow in West Point’s Center for the Rule of Law, writes in with this comment about Syria and humanitarian intervention: Much of the discussion surrounding potential U.S. attacks against the Assad regime seems to assume that the administration is advancing some form . . .
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Updated Lawfare Coverage of Legal Issues Regarding Military Action in Syria

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Friday, September 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Lawfare-ers have been quite prolific in the debate over U.S. intervention in Syria. We thus have updated our compilation of the blog’s Syria coverage. You can find all of our posts on Syria below, with the most recent posts at the top. Matt Waxman, Bethlehem and Verdirame on the Legality of Syria Intervention Matt Waxman, The . . .
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