According to the U.N., 60,000 people have died in Syria’s Civil War, which began in 2011 when Syrian protesters demanded the resignation of their President, Bashar Assad. The Obama Administration’s policy has been to support Syrians seeking peaceful change, demand Assad’s resignation, and seek support from other countries.
On December 6, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that he was concerned about intelligence reports which claim that President Bashar Assad may use chemical weapons against his country's own citizens. Syrian officials denied that they would do such a thing. Some claim that, similar to the recent conflict with Iraq, the U.S. is using faulty intelligence to justify intervention in the Middle East. President Obama and NATO promised that there would be consequences if Syria poisoned its citizens. The U.S. is also concerned that Syria may lose control of their chemical weapons to anti-American terrorists in the region.
On January 4, 2013, U.S. troops landed in Turkey to begin preparing systems that could intercept Syrian missiles. Turkey shares a border with Syria, and some missile debris from Syria’s Civil War has landed in Turkey. Although the U.S troops are there to assist Turkey (their NATO ally), their presence may signal possible U.S. military intervention in the Syrian conflict.
Ultimately, what should be the U.S. policy towards Syria? Should the U.S.:
-train and arm President Assad’s opposition?
-intervene if Assad 'crosses the line' (e.g. poisons Syrians)?
-build an international coalition before intervening?
If the U.S. does intervene, whether diplomatically or militarily, what is the endgame?
Join us as we discuss U.S.-Syria relations. There are resources below.
All views and political orientations are welcome.
We welcome beginners and policy wonks alike. Feel free to join the discussion or just to listen and learn.
If you sign up and change your mind, please change your reply so that someone else may attend.
Meetup to last 1.5 hours (until 5:30 PM) although, of course, people are welcome to continue beyond that point.
UN Says More Than 60,000 Dead in Syrian Civil War
What Should U.S. Policy Be in Syria? (Council on Foreign Relations)
U.S. Defense Chief: Intel 'raises serious concerns' about Syria chemical weapons
WikiLeaks Cables Show U.S. Secretly Backed Syrian Opposition Groups
US Troops Arrive in Turkey/Syria Border
Will the U.S. Intervene in Syria? (The New Yorker)