We're gonna talk about the situation in Syria! I have three main areas to cover:
1. A little background on Syria to understand what's happening now
2. The use of chemical weapons
3. How the US factors into this mess
Area 1: Some background
Syria is currently in a massive civil war. It's messy, it's confusing, and people are dying by the thousands. Basically, the Syrian government WAY over-reacted to some peaceful protestors a couple years ago and started killing those protestors without mercy. Eventually the protestors took up arms and thus began the war that’s happening now. Recently, the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against these rebel forces…aka, their own people.
Also, you should know that Syria basically has two allies: Iran and Russia. We’ll talk more about how Russia factors in later.
Ok. So Syria has been in this civil war for 2 years now but we’re suddenly hearing all about it because of their use of chemical weapons. Why is this such a big deal? That brings us to...
Area 2: The use of chemical weapons
All's fair in war- except the use of chemical weapons. The world pretty much has a gentleman's handshake in place NOT to use them, ever, because of the damage they cause civilians. There isn't much good that comes from using them in battle, since they can't be contained to just military strikes. If you use chemical weapons, military and civilians alike are affected without bias. So it's because Syria went ahead, broke the world’s deal and used chemical weapons that the US and United Nations are so upset.
Another tidbit about chemical weapons- the state of the gentlemen's handshake on their ban is fragile, and depends on NO ONE using them, EVER. So if one country breaks the deal, it opens the door for other countries to use them.
Now let’s talk about the 3rd area: Why is there talk about the US getting involved in this mess?
President Obama wants to send some missiles over to Syria. Not to try and fix the horrible war or try to help the people there, but to warn the Syrian government (and anyone else) that the use of chemical weapons won't be tolerated.
In order to do this, Congress would have to OK it. It’s not clear right now if they would, and here’s why
Many US politicians and members of the public are concerned that ANY military action in Syria would draw us into a long war and cause more hate against the US.
However, as of yesterday, Russia got involved by asking Syria to hand over their chemical weapons (remember, Russia is one of Syria’s only allies…so Syria will take advice from them.)
And as of THIS morning, Syria has AGREED to hand over their weapons—so at the moment, no military action is planned. President Obama says the threat of action will remain until weapons are actually handed over, and of course they will be watching the situation carefully.
*Side note: when we say Syria will “hand over” their chemical weapons, it means they will put the their chemical weapons sites under international control.