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82 votes
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Why are chemical weapons such a big deal?

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/...
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56 votes
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Why would Assad use chemical weapons in the civil war as of 2018?

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 ...
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53 votes

What is the purpose of USA warning Russia about missile strikes in Syria?

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 ...
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47 votes
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What is the purpose of USA warning Russia about missile strikes in Syria?

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 ...
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43 votes

Why are chemical weapons such a big deal?

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 ...
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42 votes

What would have been the aim of Theresa May refusing to join the strike on Syria?

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 ...
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38 votes
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Why would a planned Turkish invasion of Syria motivate US troops' withdrawal?

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, ...
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29 votes
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What incentives (or stated motives) did the US have to attack Syria?

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 ...
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29 votes
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Electoral considerations aside, what are potential benefits, for the US, of policy changes proposed by the tweet recognizing Golan annexation?

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 ...
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28 votes

Why are chemical weapons such a big deal?

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 ...
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26 votes
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Why did Vladimir Putin order a pullout from Syria in late 2017?

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 ...
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26 votes

Why would Assad use chemical weapons in the civil war as of 2018?

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 ...
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25 votes

Why was Saddam Hussein captured but Assad is still spared by America?

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 ...
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24 votes
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What would have been the aim of Theresa May refusing to join the strike on Syria?

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 ...
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24 votes
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Did the USA have a political agenda in Syria beyond simply the containment of ISIS?

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,...
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22 votes

What's the Russian interest in the Syrian civil war?

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 ...
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21 votes
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Legality of Syrian invasion by US and allies

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 ...
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19 votes
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Why does the USA want to risk a conflict with Russia by preparing military interventions in Syria?

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 ...
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18 votes
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Why is US supporting ISIS in Syria while opposing it in Iraq?

'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 ...
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15 votes
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Why do we call the Syrian refugees refugees?

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 ...
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15 votes

What are the (good) arguments in favour of ISIS?

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 ...
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15 votes

What incentives (or stated motives) did the US have to attack Syria?

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 ...
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15 votes

Electoral considerations aside, what are potential benefits, for the US, of policy changes proposed by the tweet recognizing Golan annexation?

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 ...
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15 votes

Can a NATO member call Article 5 after being attacked outside its national borders?

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 ...
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14 votes

Why is US supporting ISIS in Syria while opposing it in Iraq?

First of all, the US is not supporting ISIS (or ISIL or IS, as it's also called) in Syria. The presence of extremist elements among militant groups in Syria is one of the major reasons why the Obama ...
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14 votes
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Why don't Western powers support Bashar al-Assad since it now became clear most of the opposition is not in support of democratic government?

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 ...
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14 votes

Why did Vladimir Putin order a pullout from Syria in late 2017?

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 ...
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  • 645
14 votes

Why would a planned Turkish invasion of Syria motivate US troops' withdrawal?

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 ...
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