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Obama Striking Assad Risks International Law Conflict

As U.S. officials work to convince the world that Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in Syria, the Obama administration is confronting questions about whether it has a legal right to respond with force.

The United Nations Security Council would need to authorize military action or the U.S. would have to be acting in self-defense for a strike to be legal under international law even if it may be justified, according to lawyers including Philip Carter.