Public debate over the legal authority for the April 6 U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase is reviewed in a new brief from the Congressional Research Service, which stops short of proposing a conclusion of its own.
“It remains to be seen whether the Trump Administration will release a statement explaining its legal basis for the missile strike under international law, but even if such a statement is forthcoming, it seems unlikely that it would put an end to this debate,” the CRS brief said. See U.S. Strike on Syrian Airbase: Legal under International Law?, CRS Legal Sidebar, April 17, 2017.
Other new reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.
The Marshall Plan: 70th Anniversary, CRS Insight, April 18, 2017
U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement: Prospects and Issues for Congress, April 14, 2017
France’s 2017 Presidential Election: In Brief, April 13, 2017
The Revenue Baseline for Tax Reform, CRS Insight, April 14, 2017
NASS and U.S. Crop Production Forecasts: Methods and Issues, April 13, 2017
Dressed to the Nines: What’s Next for the Nine-Justice Supreme Court, CRS Legal Sidebar, April 10, 2017
Westinghouse Bankruptcy Filing Could Put New U.S. Nuclear Projects at Risk, CRS Insight, April 19, 2017
The population of Syria is 17,951,639, according to the CIA World Factbook.
That figure (oddly identified as a “July 2014” estimate) is wrong, according to everyone else.
The discrepancy was noted yesterday in the intelligence newsletter Nightwatch.
“NightWatch consulted six separate sources for the total population of Syria. They agreed that it is between 22 and 23 million people, not 17.9 million as indicated in the CIA World Factbook. There are about 7 million Syrians under voting age of 18 and more than 15 million registered voters,” the newsletter said.
“NightWatch relies on the CIA World Factbook as a standard reference for unclassified factual, baseline information, as does the Intelligence Community. On three occasions since 2006, NightWatch has found errors in the Factbook,” the newsletter added. “This was the third occasion.”
A Congressional Research Service report last month also cites a total Syrian population of “more than 22 million.”
Errors, of course, are to be expected– even, and especially, in intelligence publications. One great virtue of the CIA World Factbook is that it is a public document. This makes it possible for readers to identify such errors, to draw attention to them, and to promote their correction.