Secretary of State John Kerry gave this statement on August 30, 2013, to review with the American people the Obama administration's assessment about the August 21 chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilizans and the steps taken to develop a plan with U.S. and international officials to intervene.
The search for evidence of chemical weapons in Syria is painstaking and hampered by harsh conditions, but could yield decisive findings as debate over military action intensifies, says expert Amy E. Smithson.
Laurie Garrett explains what makes sarin gas dangerous to humans and reviews the chemical's deadly history in this op-ed for CNN Opinion. She then discusses the potential political implications of sarin's usage in Syria, concluding that "the Assad regime is playing with regional fire."
Elliott Abrams says the problem with the Obama administration's probable reaction in Syria is that it does not seem likely to address real American security interests at stake or the growing humanitarian disaster, and instead focus narrowly on another: Assad's use of chemical weapons.
Julia Sweig argues that, while skepticism of military intervention is reasonable in normal times, the use of chemical weapons in Syria has changed the goalposts and demands action from the world. In spite of its painful memories of U.S. intervention in its own recent history, Latin America should invoke the doctrine of Responsibility while Protecting, and partner with Western leaders as a source of humanitarian aid and refugee assistance.
"Refugee camps are born of emergency and evolve into cities of dependency, bureaucracy, and static suffering. They rescue human beings, and then they warehouse them. They relieve the host country of the financial burden and diffuse it among the member states of the United Nations."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released two statements on August 21, 2013, after reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, UN Security Council President for August, spoke at the same press conference.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, requested that General Martin Dempsey provide an "unclassified assessment of options for the potential use of U.S. military force in the Syrian conflict" and General Dempsey responded on July 19, 2013.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.