The Syria Problem


Trent P. Mota (Editor)

Series: Politics and Economics of the Middle East, Foreign Policy of the United States
BISAC: POL059000

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed “with high confidence” that Syrian government forces used sarin nerve gas in limited attacks earlier this year and conducted a mass casualty chemical weapons attack against rebel held areas near Damascus on August 21, 2013. In June 2013, the Obama Administration stated that reported chemical attacks would lead the United States to offer more material support to the opposition. Secretary of Defense Hagel and Secretary of State Kerry have stated that the United States is providing lethal assistance to vetted members of the Syrian opposition.

In response to the alleged chemical attack in August, the President is seeking congressional authorization for a punitive military response intended to deter the Asad regime from using chemical weapons in the future. Members of Congress have offered divergent views concerning the reported use of chemical weapons and proposed responses. The war in Syria and the debate over possible punitive U.S. military action against the Asad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons pose a uniquely challenging series of questions for policy makers. The overarching questions remain how to define, prioritize, and secure the core interests of the United States with regard to Syria’s complex civil war.

The immediate questions are whether and how best to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria and how such a response might affect U.S. interests and standing regionally and globally. In weighing these questions, Members of Congress and Administration officials are seeking both to protect concrete U.S. national security interests and to preserve abstract international security principles that may serve those interests. This book examines the background issues and U.S. response options in the armed conflict in Syria; the humanitarian respons; and includes remarks made by President Obama in an address to the Nation about Syria on September 10, 2013. (Imprint: Novinka )

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Armed Conflict in Syria: Background and U.S. Response
(Jeremy M. Sharp, Christopher M. Blanchard, CRS)

Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress
(Jeremy M. Sharp, Christopher M. Blanchard, CRS)

Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response
(Rhoda Margesson, Susan G. Chesser, CRS)

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress
(Mary Beth D. Nikitin, Paul K. Kerr, Andrew Feickert, CRS)

Remarks by President Obama in Address to the Nation on Syria
(September 10, 2013)


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