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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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