Middle East and North Africa

Primary Sources

Secretary Kerry's and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's Remarks on Syria, September 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva on September 12, 2013, to discuss the possibility of Syria handing over its chemical weapons to the international community. This approach was proposed as an alternative to a military strike as a response to the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

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Backgrounder

Sarin

Author: Zachary Laub

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from longstanding international practice, this Backgrounder explains.

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Testimony

Assessing the Case for Striking Syria

Author: Stephen Biddle

In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Stephen Biddle acknowledges that neither the case for nor against using force in Syria is without serious costs and risks. He evaluates the five main goals an attack might be designed to achieve: deterring further CW use and upholding norms against the employment of such weapons; preserving U.S. credibility; enabling a negotiated settlement to the war; toppling Assad and his government; and ending the humanitarian crisis by saving civilian lives.

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Primary Sources

President Obama's Address to the Nation on Syria, September 2013

President Obama spoke to the American public on September 10, 2013, about the U.S. government's response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. He requested Congress to delay its vote on the proposed military strike, in order to address Russia's proposal of Syria handing over chemical weapons to the international community.

See more in Syria; United States; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Treaties and Agreements