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 hard edges of Syria's frontlines—dogmatic, revolutionary, Islamist or pure murderously sectarian—almost melt away outside the oilfields. New lines emerge pitting tribesmen against battalions, Islamists against everyone else, and creating sometimes surreal lines of engagement."
Syria has been mired in deadly strife since March 2011 and the outlook for resolving what is now a full blown civil war looks increasingly dire. The worst case outcome for Syria is one whereby the country fragments and becomes a failed state in which the Damascus government no longer controls its own territory. Under such a scenario, the glue holding the country together comes unstuck.
According to Micah Zenko, "We are deluding ourselves if we believe that we need more time to "think through" U.S. military intervention options for Syria. We have an excellent understanding of what those options are, and a vast majority of officials, policymakers, and the American people do not believe they are worth the effort."
The UN General Assembly approved, by a vote of 107-12 with 59 abstentions, the resolution on May 15, 2013, which supports political transition in Syria through the establishment of the Syrian National Coalition.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will hold the Syrian government accountable for the use of chemical weapons on civilians. CFR's Matthew C. Waxman highlights three sets of considerations for U.S. intervention in the country's ongoing civil war.
Gregory Koblentz argues that the United States' best option for a response to the conflict in Syria is not simply arming the rebels, pushing for UN sanctions, indicting Assad, or pressuring Russia—rather, it is a combination of all four.
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.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.