Syria has always been among the Middle East's most repressive dictatorships, in addition to serving as the home to terrorists that have killed American soldiers and non-combatants in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and more. Now, Syria is under fire from within; since March 2011, tens of thousands of innocent Syrians have been killed in ruthless assaults by the Assad regime. While government forces continue to bombard major cities with appalling brutality, US strategic interests argue for intervention in this pivotal Arab country. For ongoing coverage and analysis on the escalating attacks in Syria, keep updated by AEI's foreign and defense policy scholars.
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Whether it’s “pivoting” or “rebalancing,” the Obama administration’s unceasing efforts to turn retreat into a virtue – particularly when it comes to the Middle East – have become a distinguishing feature of this president’s national security strategy.
Last weekend, Bashar Assad's government formally met its first deadline in the Russian-brokered plan to have Syrian chemical weapons turned over to international authorities. However, as foreign news outlets have reported, the list of Syria's chemical weapons is far from complete.
It is hard to resist the wave of optimism sweeping over Washington and Brussels this week. It seems that, after years of stasis, there is a sudden dawn of diplomatic engagement on two of the thorniest issues facing the West: Iran and Syria.
Just like Pyongyang, Damascus negotiates through obfuscation and lies. Perhaps to save time, talks over Syria could be rolled into the North Korean negotiations. That way, Washington’s own missteps can be undertaken more economically.
Whatever one thinks U.S. Syria policy should be (aid the opposition or stay away, strike the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons or not), there is no dispute that the Security Council has essentially been a bystander. There is a reason for this outcome. The council has always been merely a reflection of the larger world.