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Tag Archive: Syria

Making Sense of the Allegations that U.S. Military Struck a Mosque in Syria

There are now two very different competing pictures about whether the United States mistakenly struck a mosque in Syria on the night of March 16, 2017. On one view, based on  three independent reports—by Human Rights Watch, Bellingcat, and the University of London’s Forensic Architecture—along with some supplemental information from AirWars and White Helmets, the U.S.…   continue »

The Fog of War Powers



In the aftermath of President Trump’s strike on a Syrian airfield, commentators continue to debate the scope of presidential war powers under the Constitution.  Yet many of these analyses should probably come with a consumer warning label – “my opinion only, not necessarily the law.”  Well, just what is the “law” of presidential war powers? …   continue »

When Moral Compulsion is Characterized as a Crime of Aggression


As a number of my colleagues have been debating the lawfulness of the United States striking a Syrian airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles in response to a purported chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime, I have asked similar questions but also focused on whether the Trump Administration may have been less concerned with international law than what the Administration views as America’s moral obligations. …   continue »

What Military Actions Are Trump’s vs. Obama Holdovers?


President Donald Trump has been in office for 83 days, and almost everywhere you look, the US military is escalating its operations. US warships are steaming toward North Korea, airstrikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen have ramped up, and, in the biggest show of force so far, the Trump administration bombed a Syrian airfield last week.  continue »

Tracking the White House’s Reasons for Bombing Syria


The Trump administration has offered a handful of reasons why it decided to bomb a Syrian government airfield last week. The Department of Defense says the strike damaged or destroyed “fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft,” but the Trump administration acknowledges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad maintains the capacity to commit further chemical weapons attacks, and that damaging this one airfield, from which it says Syria launched last week’s sarin gas attack, did not eliminate the threat altogether.  continue »

Important New Bipartisan Bill To Advance Accountability for International Crimes in Syria


Following on the heels of last week’s chemical weapon attack in Syria, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Todd Young (R-IN) have introduced the Syria War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017, which authorizes the United States to provide technical and other forms of assistance to investigations and other credible transitional justice efforts, including a potential hybrid tribunal.  …   continue »

Apples and Oranges–Obama’s and Trump’s Plans to Strike Syria for Chem Weapons Use


One of the most important policy and legal questions moving forward is whether the Trump administration needs to seek congressional approval for military strikes in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. That question applies not only in retrospect to Thursday’s strike, but perhaps even more so to the prospect of future military operations.…   continue »