Syria

Op-Ed

The US Can Still Help Save Syria — and Iraq

Author: Elliott Abrams
Standpoint

After the 20th century's list of events of mass murder — from the Ukraine famine of the early 1930s and the Holocaust in the 1940s, to the Balkans wars and the Rwanda genocide of the 1990s — the cries of "never again" and the assertion of a "responsibility to protect" gave some hope that mass killing would not recur in the 21st century. Then came Darfur in the new century's first decade, and now Syria in the second. Mass killing has very clearly not been eliminated, nor has the "international community" developed a response that will avert it or bring it to a quick end.

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Transcript

Is Intervention in Syria the Answer?

Speakers: Ryan Crocker, Charles W. Dunne, and Paul Pillar
Presider: Richard N. Haass

More than three years after the start of the Syrian civil war, debates continue about what role, if any, the United States should play in the conflict. Ryan Crocker of Texas A&M, Freedom House's Charles Dunne, and Paul Pillar of Georgetown University join CFR President Richard N. Haass to outline the courses of action available to the United States and debate whether U.S. intervention would be desirable or effective.

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Audio

Is Intervention in Syria the Answer?

Speakers: Ryan Crocker, Charles W. Dunne, and Paul Pillar
Presider: Richard N. Haass

More than three years after the start of the Syrian civil war, debates continue about what role, if any, the United States should play in the conflict. Ryan Crocker of Texas A&M, Freedom House's Charles Dunne, and Paul Pillar of Georgetown University join CFR President Richard N. Haass to outline the courses of action available to the United States and debate whether U.S. intervention would be desirable or effective.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Video

Is Intervention in Syria the Answer?

Speakers: Ryan Crocker, Charles W. Dunne, and Paul Pillar
Presider: Richard N. Haass

More than three years after the start of the Syrian civil war, debates continue about what role, if any, the United States should play in the conflict. Ryan Crocker of Texas A&M, Freedom House's Charles Dunne, and Paul Pillar of Georgetown University join CFR President Richard N. Haass to outline the courses of action available to the United States and debate whether U.S. intervention would be desirable or effective.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Must Read

Washington Institute: The Assad Regime Winning by Inches?

Author: Jeffrey White

"The regime's political goals are to remain in power, restore its control over as much of Syria as it can, and render the political opposition an irrelevant exile movement. Its military goal is to reduce the armed opposition to a manageable terrorist threat. This does not imply that the opposition has to be completely eliminated or that every inch of lost ground has to be recovered. Yet the regime has never shown any intention other than to fight, and it fights essentially everywhere in Syria."

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Primary Sources

UN Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

The UN Human Rights Council issued this report on Syria on November 23, 2011. It states that "gross violations of human rights have been committed by Syrian military and security forces since the beginning of the protests in March 2011." On March 4, 2014, the commission released its seventh report (A/HRC/25/65) and states that sieges of civilian areas are leading to mass casualties and starvation in Syria.

See more in Syria; Human Rights

Op-Ed

For Obama, Few Options in Syria

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

As Washington remains reluctant to take strong action in Syria, Gayle T. Lemmon discusses the limited interventions under consideration for U.S. intervention, including counterterrorism operations inside Syria, increased arms distribution to moderate rebels, and humanitarian aid.

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Must Read

New York Review of Books: Syria's Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth

Author: Annie Sparrow

"The UN's current polio vaccination program—sponsored by UNICEF and delivered in UN-financed convoys and flights—is fully orchestrated by the Syrian government, and in opposition-held areas, it is dependent for administration on volunteers from the government-dominated Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). SARC's president, Abdul Rahman Attar, is closely tied to the government, and even has his own pharmaceutical company, which has influenced the preference given to regime territory in the administration of polio vaccines during these last three years."

See more in Syria; Health; Children