Latest in Syria

International Law

The Trump Administration Should Do More to Explain the Legal Basis for the Syrian Airstrikes

In their post earlier today, Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway argue that the Trump administration had no apparent domestic or international legal authority for last night’s air strikes against Syria. I had similarly questioned the legal basis, especially the international law basis, for the U.S. air strikes against Syria in April 2017. I would offer these additional thoughts now:

Executive Power

Transcript: President Trump's Remarks on Syria Airstrikes

Below is a transcript of President Trump's remarks announcing airstrikes in Syria this evening. The government has also released an assessment of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also included below.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release April 13, 2018

International Law: Self-Defense

The Al-Kibar Strike: What a Difference 26 Years Make

Israel has experienced, quite literally, a blast from the past. For the first time, Israel officially acknowledged operation “Outside the Box”—the September 2007 strike that destroyed the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor, located in the Dier Al-Zour region in Syria. The construction of the reactor, in cooperation with North Korea, was approaching completion at the time of the strike.

Executive Power

Summary: Lawsuit to Release the Legal Justification of Syria Airstrikes

Earlier this month, Quinta Jurecic noted a suit filed by the nonprofit Protect Democracy under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the Trump administration’s legal justification behind U.S. airstrikes in Syria during April 2017. This post summarizes the ongoing battle over the release, in particular, of a legal memorandum (and related documents) provided to the National Security Advisor on the legality of the administration’s missile strike.

Executive Power

Documents: FOIA Suit on the Legal Basis of Syrian Airstrikes

In May 2017, the nonprofit Protect Democracy filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Trump administration's legal justification behind the U.S. airstrikes in Syria during April of that year. The litigation produced proof of a seven-page legal memo analyzing the legal basis for the strikes, which the Justice Department has not yet released.

Syria

Trump's New Syria Strategy is Woefully Unrealistic

On January 17, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Trump administration’s Syria strategy for the first time at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. Tillerson’s speech cleared up much of the uncertainty regarding whether the United States would stay in Syria after the defeat of the Islamic State, confirming that the administration would maintain a military presence in the country for the foreseeable future. In addition, he highlighted five key U.S.

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