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Before and after aerial pictures released by the U.S. Department of Defense Thursday show damage to an oil refinery in Syria following airstrikes by U.S. and coalition forces.

Before we plunge wholeheartedly into a new round of conflict, there are a few things we have to get straight. These five questions should do, for starters. Read more»

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently revised the historical record to say both he and Chuck Hagel, now the secretary of defense, “opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq” as senators. Both voted to give President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq. Read more»

Sorry, Syrian civilians caught in the middle of a civil war ... the Lone Ranger's not coming. Nor is anyone else. Read more»

It should be clear to members of Congress that only the threat of military action against the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities is what could create a possibility for Assad to give up control of those weapons. Read more»

President Barack Obama meets with members of Congress to discuss Syria in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 3.

A year ago, President Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad would cross a “red line for us” and might trigger a U.S. military response. Now, the president says it wasn’t his red line, but rather a line set by the international community and by Congress. Read more»

I want to see justice done and war criminals prosecuted. I am not an isolationist. I believe the United States can help shape a positive future for the global community. But the idea that firing a few missiles will help the good guys win the war and end things happily is a dangerous, unrealistic basis for our role in world affairs. Read more» 1

Arizona Sens. John McCain, left, and Jeff Flake speak during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting at which senators gave preliminary approval to a resolution allowing the president to take military action against Syria.

Both of Arizona’s senators voted Wednesday to authorize military strikes against the Syrian government for its reported use of chemical weapons against civilians and opposition forces in that country’s civil war. Read more»

"This use of chemical weapons is a terrible assault against innocent men, women and more than 400 children. The United States and the nations of the world must condemn such a heinous crime against humanity. I look forward to the debate in Congress regarding the president's decision and to receiving additional information regarding the U.S. government's findings and proposed military action against Syria." Read more»

The Americans don't want it. The Germans don't want it. And the Brits don't want it. The overwhelming consensus of public opinion in the Western world is that a war with Syria would be a bad idea. This now gives President Barack Obama some flexibility to back down off his red line, save political face, and do what's necessary to prevent further violence in Syria. Read more»

It's all but official: The United States and its allies have accepted that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people and they are prepared to respond. The big question now is how? And, even more important, to what end? Read more»

Roses lie amongst rows of gravestones assembled by Oxfam, Northern Ireland, symbolizing the 93,00 people killed in Syria on June 17, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recent events have left President Obama with no good options in the Middle East.

It's been a tumultuous week across the Middle East. Read more»

U.S. and European intelligence analysts believe Bashar al-Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against its own people, according to a memo circulated within the U.S. government on Thursday. The White House confirmed Thursday evening that it will be militarily aiding the Syrian rebels in response to convincing evidence of chemical weapons use by the regime. Read more»

Our five-term senator, John McCain, has been a key advocate for an enhanced U.S. role in Syria, but the senator's case does not hold water. Not only is he mistaken in his arguments for intervention, but, more fundamentally, he is mistaken as to what justifies a military intervention. Read more» 1

After visiting with Syrian opposition leaders, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said this week that the U.S. must get involved in supporting the rebels or face further instability in the region and further suffering for the Syrian people.

U.S. Sen. John McCain told a Washington audience Thursday that the United States must establish a safe zone in Syria and arm the opposition with “heavy weapons” before the region sinks “deeper into extremism and conflict.” But Reda Taleb thinks that would be a mistake. Taleb is one of several Syrians in Arizona who are keeping an eye on the conflict in their homeland, and on McCain's actions. Read more» 1

Syrian rebels gather in front of the remains of a burnt military vehicle belonging to Syrian government forces, Homs province.

The European Union decided to let an arms embargo against the Syrian rebels expire, while the White House reportedly asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone in Syria. Read more»

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