Our government might be lobbing missiles at Syria fairly soon. Or it might not. In either case, what do any of us really know about Syria? In my case, not much other than it's north of Lebanon, is an ally of Russia, and that there's a civil war going on. The declared reason for an attack on Syria is the use of chemical weapons. But the assumption that it's the Syrian government using the chemical weapons may not be correct.* Here's a Q & A from the Washington Post listing things we should know about Syria but that most of us don't. Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, maintains an excellent blog on the region called Informed Comment. One of his recent posts outlines the problems with the U.S. government's Syria strategy. And here's a Los Angeles Times column listing the reasons in favor of an attack on Syria. For an approachable overview of Syrian history, geography and politics, check out the CIA World Fact Book. And to keep up with the latest news on Syria, I suggest checking the BBC's Middle East page and Al Jazeera America. *Hat tip to Somerville Public Library patron Dennis Fishman for the link.

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