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Syria, chemical weapons and the limits of international law

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Consider this shocking fact: Despite horrific images of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria, the U.S.-led humanitarian intervention to protect civilians on April 13 was fundamentally illegal. Andrew Bell The Conversation Under current international law, President Trump lacks the authorization to launch a single missile to stop future attacks, even for the clear and just purpose of saving civilian lives. No matter how wise you consider this intervention, legal scholars generally agree that the United Nations Charter doesn’t allow ... Read More »

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

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More legally questionable and reckless military interventions are not what British people want from their government Jeremy Corbyn The Guardian These are serious times. Following the missile attacks on Syria, now is the moment for a powerful push for peace. Boris Johnson’s blithe acceptance on Sunday that the conflict will now continue on its current course and that peace negotiations would be an “extra” is an unconscionable abdication of… Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees ... Read More »

UN Chief Warns of ‘Full-Blown Military Escalation’ Over Syria Attacks

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As US President Donald Trump is said to be considering a full scale ground assault against the Syrian administration of President Bashar al-Assad, the top UN official has decried the onset of a new global Cold War and warned against “full-blown military escalation” in the… Sputnik Following air strikes launched at Syria by a US-led coalition including France and the UK as a response to a purported chemical weapons attack on civilians by forces loyal to Assad, United Nations Secretary… UN chief Guterres also observed that the ... Read More »

Erdogan welcomes Syria strikes against Assad regime

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday welcomed Western strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime as “appropriate” in retaliation for Damascus’ “inhumane” attacks. AFP “We consider this operation as appropriate,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul. In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the US-led operation “has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of ” the suspected chemical attack With the latest operation, he said, “The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in ... Read More »

China’s Worst Fear: Can America Turn Taiwan into a Submarine Power?

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Even as they tussle over trade, China and the United States are entering into a more under-the-radar dispute over Taiwan. Last week, the State Department approved a marketing license that allows U.S. defense companies to explore selling Taiwan technology it needs to build submarines. Zachary Keck The National Interest The approval was reported by Taiwanese media outlets who cited Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman. Sidney Lin, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s president, also confirmed the news. The United ... Read More »

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

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President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Offers Inspiration And Lessons We Can All Learn From In This Letter To Her Younger Self

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Earlier this week Tammy Duckworth became the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office with the arrival of her daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey. But before she gave birth to Maile, the junior senator from Illinois reflected on some of her life’s milestones in this incredibly inspiring letter to her younger self… This video is part of CBS This Morning’s Note to Self series, watch more here. WYSK Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn

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How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say Damian Carrington The Guardian Serious disruption to the Gulf Stream ocean currents that are crucial in controlling global climate must be avoided “at all costs”, senior scientists have warned. The alert follows the revelation this week that the system is at its weakest ever recorded. Past collapses of the giant network have seen some of the ... Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

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Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Russia accuses UK of staging Syria gas attack

TOPSHOT - A Syrian man waits to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic following reported air strikes by government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, on April 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Abd Doumany        (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s claims are ‘grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie.’ Paul Dallison Politico The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend. The U.K. denounced the allegation as “grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie,” the Guardian reported. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said he had evidence that showed “special services of a country, which is now seeking to be in the first ranks of ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Pompeo vows diplomatic approach to Iran nuke deal

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become Washington’s top diplomat has pledged to work with U.S. allies to strengthen the Iran deal and played down fears he is bent on regime change in North Korea. WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mike Pompeo, the outgoing director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), disavowed his reputation as a “war hawk” and an anti-Muslim hardliner as he sought to woo support from senators on April 12 to become the next U.S. secretary of state. ... Read More »

James Comey Has a Story to Tell. It’s Very Persuasive.

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A HIGHER LOYALTY Truth, Lies, and Leadership By James Comey 290 pages. Flatiron Books. $29.99. Michiko Kakutani The New York Times In his absorbing new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey calls the Trump presidency a “forest fire” that is doing serious damage to the country’s norms and traditions. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Decades before he ... Read More »

The U.S. Has Accepted Only 11 Syrian Refugees This Year

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The Trump administration has condemned a suspected chemical weapons strike in Syria and is considering military action. Deborah Amos Parallels “We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity,” President Trump said earlier this week. But humanitarian organizations are challenging the president’s commitment to humanity when it comes to Syrian civilians — particularly those seeking refuge in the United States. In 2016, near the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. resettled 15,479 Syrian ... Read More »

Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars

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It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history? What on earth are we doing? Simon Jenkins The Guardian I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. ... Read More »