News / Middle East

    International Military Intervention in Syria Remains Unlikely

    Keida Kostreci
    The main Syrian opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, voted Monday at a meeting in Doha, Qatar, to broaden its ranks in the face of U.S. pressure to create a more representative leadership.

    Still, Syria will remain a foreign policy challenge for the U.S., no matter who wins Tuesday's presidential election.
     
    Even as the United States tries to identify the right people for a transitional authority to replace Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Obama administration said it is still considering a no-fly zone for northern Syria, but not a military intervention.

    Former U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner said there remains no support for military involvement in Syria from the United States or its allies.

    "What we should be talking about is not a military option but a political option, and that option must mean the assumption that as dreadful as this regime is in Syria, as ghastly as the crimes that is committing, you need a political way out of the situation, you need in short a political settlement,” said Wisner.

    Some analysts say that the longer the 20-month-old conflict drags on, however, military intervention will be inevitable.

    Princeton professor Anne Marie Slaughter, a former U.S. State Department policy planner, says, “I think the U.S. should be doing everything we possibly can at this point to help establish buffer zones, even if that means that they have to be no-fly zones so you have to actually put in planes to protect them."

    Some, like Kurt Volker of Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, say the U.S. should build a broader diplomatic base of support along with some military component.

    “That would be a combination of no-fly zone, of taking out air defenses, of limiting the ability to use armor inside Syria.  Doing that would give some time and some space to the rebels in Syria, and then what’s already beginning to happen is the development of something of a safe haven on the border with Turkey,” said Volker.

    With more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, Washington is weighing a no-fly zone for areas of northern Syria controlled by Assad opponents and rebels. But Wisner said no-fly zones are military interventions by a different name.

    “A no-fly zone, a humanitarian zone means you have to put troops on the ground. A no-fly zone means you are fighting a war and you are going to have pilots shot down. You will be dragged to military engagement,” said Wisner.

    And Wisner said U.S. national interest argues clearly against an American military engagement in the Middle East.

    “I hope we have come to a recognition that we can’t have our way with military force, that we have got to use military force in the future in the most sparing manner, when our most vital, direct and essential national interests, ones that affect our immediate security are at stake,” he said.

    So far, the U.S. and its allies have preferred to shore up the political arm of Syria's opposition.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    Video Energy Lacking at Annual Offshore Oil Conference

    The slump in oil prices that began in 2014 has taken a toll on the industry but all express confidence it will end eventually

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mike from: USA
    November 07, 2012 11:02 AM
    America needs to completely stay out of this Syrian conflict altogether! We have already lost thousands of young American lives and over a trillion US taxpayer dollars on these idiotic Middle Eastern wars, with little to show for it. We can no longer afford to be the world's police force. There are way too many citizens right here who are suffering and need America's help.

    by: Anonymous
    November 06, 2012 5:17 AM
    If Assad was taken out this war would be over.
    I don't think there is any political way out, how can anyone sign any deal with a psychotic ex-leader? Nobody would ever try and sign a deal with Assad, he has killed way too many innocent people already.

    by: Sofianitz from: Bulgaria
    November 06, 2012 5:00 AM
    The 20-month effort of the United States to establish, through armed, financed, trained and heavily supported Syrian sunni rebels and foreign jihadists introduced through Turkey and Lebanon, a "tipping point" in order to unseat the present Syrian government (with the geo-strategic objective of blocking a sub-Caspian coridor to the Meditteranean) has been a failure. Now, under the headline "military intervention remains unlikely", the article quotes people promoting totally illegal, massive acts of outright war on Syria by the United States.

    In order to establish a "no-fly zone", you have to first proceed by "taking out air defenses", otherwise the no-fly enforcers will just be blown away. Syria has an air force designed for war with Israel - maybe 500 fixed wing military planes, and 3-400 attack helicopters - you have to take that out, in the face of very sophisticated Russian defensive anti-aircraft missile systems on the ground. A massive air war. This ain't Libya, my friends.

    by: Anonymous
    November 06, 2012 4:48 AM
    How on earth can the world leaders sit back and watch as this killer of over 30,000 innocent people continues to kill many children, wives, and elderly unarmed on a daily basis? What world leader will stand up to this and say that killing innocent people is wrong and put an end to this?

    Why does China or Russia agree with this systematic killing? Is Russia and China afraid this may happen in their own region? If it is so, then Russia and China governments should start to be more "Liked" by their own people now because it's coming...
    You can't put a choke chain on people like Assad is doing, it just doesn't work.

    I look forward to the day that Assad is forced to stop killing innocent people. He should be arrested by the world courts for crimes against humanity. Deliberately dropping bombs on civillians neighbourhoods is an act more serious than that of serial killers. ESPECIALLY those who live in the same country, it is systematic killing.

    Day by day more and more people of Syria hate the Assad regime, it is growing.

    by: musawi melake
    November 05, 2012 6:57 PM
    This issue would be the most challenging one for the emerging powers like China and Russia. If they fail to prevent Assad from being drag on the streets like Gaddafi by the terrorist proxies of the West, it will be a grand failure. The diminishing influence of the US should be maintained, so that the emergence of Red-China as the sole Power of the world would be garanteed.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora