81 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/...
pjc50's user avatar
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55 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 ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 3,666
52 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 ...
Peteris's user avatar
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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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
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 ...
IllusiveBrian's user avatar
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 ...
James K's user avatar
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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, ...
PhillS's user avatar
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37 votes

Why does the Israeli Air Force conduct air strikes on Syrian soil?

According to Reuters, the goal of the Israeli strikes is to disrupt arms delivery to Iran's allies in Syria and Lebanon: Regional and intelligence sources say Israel has in recent months intensified ...
Alexei's user avatar
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33 votes
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Why isn't Syria treating Israel's attack in Damascus as an open act of war?

It is not the first time that Israel strikes Syria. Moreover, Israel and Syria have been already in war with each other since 1948. And in every active war fought since then, Syria was badly beaten, ...
FourLegsGoodTwoLegsBad's user avatar
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 ...
user4012's user avatar
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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 ...
Obie 2.0's user avatar
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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 ...
Brythan's user avatar
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27 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 ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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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 ...
Matt's user avatar
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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 ...
Sam I am says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
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 ...
SoylentGray's user avatar
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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,...
the gods from engineering's user avatar
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 ...
nelruk's user avatar
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20 votes

On what grounds do the USA-affiliated forces and citizens reside in Syria if Syrian government objects?

As a matter of international law, the United States has argued since the Obama administration’s September 2014 Article 51 letter to the U.N. Security Council that the use of force against ISIS within ...
the gods from engineering's user avatar
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 ...
user4012's user avatar
  • 92.4k
17 votes

Why isn't Syria treating Israel's attack in Damascus as an open act of war?

Assad's government is in a weaker position now than he was in 2007, when an Israeli airstrike was more clearly targeted at a Syrian facility (alleged to be involved in a nuclear program). In the ...
the gods from engineering's user avatar
15 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 ...
Peter's user avatar
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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 ...
Machavity's user avatar
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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 ...
user3208727's user avatar
15 votes
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What is "demographic engineering" and how does it differ from ethnic cleansing?

What is “demographic engineering” and how does it differ from ethnic cleansing? Demographic engineering may include ethnic cleansing. Ethnic Cleansing ethnic cleansing : the expulsion, imprisonment, ...
Rick Smith's user avatar
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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 ...
JJJ's user avatar
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15 votes

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

The US always had an agenda in Syria, although this may have changed over time and different administrations. The Obama administration openly announced that they wanted Assad gone: “The future of ...
klojj's user avatar
  • 2,709
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 ...
Alice's user avatar
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