Hot answers tagged

79

Chemical weapons, like certain other kinds of weapons are banned not because of people killed by them, but because of what they do to the survivors. A summary from NPR: http://www.npr.org/2013/05/01/180348908/why-chemical-weapons-have-been-a-red-line-since-world-war-i It's a little counterintuitive that international law prefers weapons that kill cleanly ...


56

Chemical weapons give a casus belli for the Western governments to increase their presence on the ground That's true that the use of chemical weapons galvanizes the west against Assad, but, I think the best way to put it is like this. "They're going to hate me anyway, I may as well go all out". There's a body of people in the west who don't want war no ...


51

Friend of my enemy is not always my enemy It's possible that Russia had people on that site, as they have been supporting Assad's regime airforce and air defence systems. Having Russian casualties from a surprise strike is not currently beneficial for USA. Giving an advance warning means that any such people (if they are there) will be evacuated or, if not, ...


46

Russia was warned because there is a Russian military presence at the base. Airbus Defence & Space satellite imagery shows that there were four [Russian] Ka-52 Alligator and three Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters deployed to Al-Shayrat Air Base, 30 km southeast of Homs city, on 31 March. Al-Shayrat has previously been used as a forward base for Russian ...


43

Two main problems with chemical (and biological) weapons is that their effects are usually considered unnecessarily cruel, and controlling their spread is not always possible. When exposed to a chemical weapon, only some victims die right away (depending on the weapon, this group may be very small), others have to endure days or weeks of pain. While a bomb ...


42

First let me mention your question "Does she not want to burn jets in Russian Fire?" No she does not want to British Jets to be shot down by Russians. It is a silly question. No sane leader engages in an action with the intent of having her own troops killed. Next you talk about "Nato" action. While there is a good deal of unity in Nato and other Western ...


38

This is Turkish-US cooperation, as it works out in practice. Up to now the two countries have been rather at odds over Syria. The US's priorities have been twofold: destroy IS's territorial holdings, and avoid committing US ground forces wherever possible. A side benefit is doing anything to destabilise Syria to prevent Assad from regaining control of the ...


29

I'm not sure there is much benefit to the United States. It won't increase Israel's reliablity as a military ally or trading partner, since they already filled these roles without any US recognition of their possession of the Golan Heights. As the question noted, it will likely only score negative foreign policy points. However, it's not the US in some ...


28

Part of the reason is purely domestic political (which, of course, a lot of foreign policy reasons boil down to, in many countries). In case of Trump and Assad, there were actually several independent domestic factors: President Trump's base is the same people who criticized President Obama over setting 'red line' for Assad over use of chemical weapons and ...


27

Since no one else has mentioned it, another reason is that chemical weapons are most effective against people who are relatively weak. Civilians over soldiers. The old and the young over those in the middle. Lower concentrations can be fatal to children. Any weapon that is more effective against children than soldiers is one that is going to be opposed....


26

Surely, that has to do with the previous announcement of such withdrawal made as early as 2016. See, for example, this question. Also, such possibilty was actively discussed in Russian media, and by Russian officials in a couple of previous months (for example, here, here and here). But, just as in 2016, Russia is definitely not going to withdraw all the ...


26

The US has recently accused the Syrian government (yet again) of using chemical weapons in the civil war. This is because Assad's government has used them in the past, as supported by overwhelming credible evidence, and is doing so again. Assad's government is doing so in hope of inciting fear and terror in a civilian population that is being targeted by ...


25

The other answer about the Trump presidency is not entirely correct. While Trump employed Tillerson, there was a plan, however unrealistic, to still oust Assad by diplomatic means: Obama’s old policy, such as it was, had suffered a catastrophic meltdown when confronted first with reality and then with Russia; and Trump had failed to string together even ...


23

Here are a couple easy ones. Iraq occurred first, and the war in Iraq turned out to be, at the very least, quite unpopular. When the situation in Syria came up, many people were fed up with the idea of war and nation-building because of how Iraq went down. People didn't want Syria to turn into another Iraq. Russia supports Assad's government, and unlike ...


23

I would not overthink this. I suspect it was nothing more than a desire to avoid getting involved in a war that had no upside for the UK. However, Trump's willingness to abandon NATO means he is not going to find friends for causes that are not in the US's allies interests. There is nothing to be gained by deposing Assad. Look at what happened in Iraq, ...


21

The alliance between Syria and Russia dated back to the Cold War when they both became enemies of the United States. After the Iranian revolution and the peace between Egypt and Israel, Iran became a natural ally of Syria and the center of a Shiite block against USA, Israel and Iraq. Given this durable alliance Russia has developed many interests in Syria. ...


19

This was addressed on Russian Roulette podcast (from CSIS - Center for Strategic and International Studies) in episode #55 "Of U.S.-Russia Relations and What is to be Done". The episode was an interview with Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Unfortunately, the transcript isn't ...


17

'America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests' - Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State It serves US government's interests (which, to dig one hole deeper, MAY or MAY NOT be the same as "America's interests") to support Sunni rebels in Syria. More specifically, the reasons are both: domestic: Al-Assad is seen as a brutal mass-homicidal ...


15

The European Union has created something called “subsidiary protection” for people in this situation. As far as I know, that's specific to the EU and isn't used elsewhere or in international law generally. Also, Syrians might not exactly fit the definition under a strict reading of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (where your definition ...


15

I'll preface this by saying that I think this is a good question. Those who disagree probably oppose IS on an "us vs them" principle not an ideological one. I oppose them because I don't believe that what they want is desirable. For one thing, it's very Islamic-based and I'm an atheist. Let's cover morality first. It's important to remember that the Islamic ...


15

Historically, United Nations never had any chances to interfiere the will of United States or any of their allies. Syria is not an isolated case and we need to see two examples about the US behavior in the foreign policy to understand this point of view: Cuba's embargo: Since 1992, every year, the United Nations (specifically the General Assembly) approves ...


15

Western powers (or any powers in fact) do not just support a side in war because they like their ideology. War is business. As a person or a party, showing public support for one side in a war can increase your political power, or mean political suicide. And if you bring in military support, you start bleeding money very quickly. Assad has been vilified ...


15

Because people are squeamish about chemical weapons. Remember, President Obama (not a hawkish president by any stretch) said this We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. ...


15

This could also be a way to boost Netanyahu's chances in the upcoming Israeli elections which he's projected to lose. A claim over the Golan backed by the U.S goes a long way into shoring public sentiment in Israel. The same question can be asked vis a vis the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The move displaced decades of U.S foreign policy ...


15

Can a NATO member call Article 5 after being attacked outside its national borders? The area covered by the treaty is stated in article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty: Article 6 For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack: on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or ...


14

Survivors of the attack claim that bombs delivered the chemicals and the Pentagon released a map tracking the flight of a plane it says dropped those bombs. The flight path shows the plane taking off from Shayrat, one of Assad's military airfields, and flying over Khan Sheikhoun the same day the attacks occurred.


14

While it is impossible to answer what Putin may be thinking, the obvious reason would be the imminent presidential elections of 2018. While a few years ago the majority of Russians supported intervention, deteriorating economy and increasing death tolls turned the public opinion around. E.g. a poll a few months ago showed that half of the population ...


14

The US has been supporting Kurdish forces against the organisation that calls itself (in English) "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", but is often abbreviated to ISIL, ISIS, or just IS. The same Kurds that the US has been supporting would be the target of a Turkish intervention. Turkey doesn't like IS, but the Kurdish desire to speak their own language ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible