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Category Archives: Syria

House Amendment to Arm Syrian Rebels

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM

The House Rules Committee has released an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) that would authorize the Department of Defense to begin arming and training moderate Syrian rebels as identified by the Obama Administration; however, the measure provides no new funding for the initiative. The Hill has more on the proposal, which you can read . . .
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“The Legal Basis for Striking ISIS”

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 8:24 AM

That’s the title of an hour-long panel discussion which will be held at noon on September 25, and hosted  by the Heritage Foundation’s Cully Stimson.  He’ll be joined by Dechert’s Steve Bradbury, and our own Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck.  More details can be found here; the event’s description is below. As the Obama Administration . . .
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Four of The Would-be ISIS AUMFs

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 6:32 PM

While Congressional leadership may be hesitant to take up a vote authorizing the president to use military force in Iraq and/or Syria against ISIS in the coming weeks, we’ve seen several different authorizations put into play—with different requirements, and by different members of Congress. Below, I note four of the would-be ISIS AUMFs that are kicking around . . .
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A Politically Palatable Authorization to Use Force Against IS [UPDATED]

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 2:20 PM

One senses growing pressure, within and without the White House, for the President to seek authorization from Congress for what he and his aides say will be a long battle against the Islamic State (IS).  Last week I outlined the political concerns in Congress and the White House, and earlier this week I argued that . . .
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U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria? Possible International Legal Theories

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Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM

In the wake of Thursday’s statements by Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey and Friday’s comments by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, it sounds like the U.S. Government is at least considering whether to conduct air strikes against ISIS in Syria. A decision to do so clearly is not a done deal. As the Times . . .
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Vice News Coverage of The Islamic State

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:26 AM

We have flagged this remarkable, five-part Vice series before, in our news roundup; to be sure it came to readers’ attention, we opted to note report Medyan Dairieh’s up-close examination of the Islamic State in a standalone post.  Have a look.

Holder on “Something That Gives Us Really Extreme, Extreme Concern”

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Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 2:01 PM

President Obama, in his NDU speech last year, stated: “[T]his war, like all wars, must end.  That’s what history advises.  That’s what our democracy demands.” Attorney General Holder, in a conversation today (scroll down) with Pierre Thomas on ABC’s “This Week” about the threat from Americans and Europeans in Syria, stated: HOLDER: “In some ways, it’s more frightening . . .
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Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form

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Monday, June 30, 2014 at 7:35 AM

From the Borowitz Report at the New Yorker. Pretty excellent. A taste: If I were given a highly lethal automatic weapon by the United States, I would: A) Only kill exactly the people that the United States wanted me to killB) Try to kill the right people, with the caveat that I have never used . . .
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U.N. Security Council Referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court?

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The New York Times reports that France has drafted a U.N. Security Council resolution referring the “situation” in Syria to the International Criminal Court that has been tailored “specifically to address American sensitivities” about the ICC. The Bush and Obama Administrations negotiated similar compromises when they agreed to Security Council referrals of human rights violations . . .
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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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