News / Middle East

US Forces Poised to Strike If Syria Diplomacy Fails

US Forces Poised to Strike if Syria Diplomacy Failsi
X
September 12, 2013 10:46 PM
As the United States and Russia engage in diplomatic efforts for the government of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad to hand over its chemical weapons, U.S. forces remain poised to strike. And as VOA Pentagon Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, they're standing by with more than just military hardware.
Luis Ramirez
As the United States and Russia engage in diplomatic efforts for the government of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad to hand over its chemical weapons, U.S. forces remain poised to strike and they're standing by with more than just military hardware.

Despite the intensifying diplomatic efforts on Syria, four U.S. destroyers are staying in their positions in the eastern Mediterranean, with scores of Tomahawk missiles ready to fire.   

Speaking to an audience at the National Defense University, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said there has been no change in plans for the vessels.

"I guarantee you that if we are called upon to strike, we will strike hard and we will strike fast," said Mabus.

Ships and cruise missiles are among a wide range of options the Pentagon has ready,  if and when the order comes from the White House to strike.

Cyber defenses are also an important component of the strike plan.

Pro-Assad forces have been launching cyber attacks against U.S. targets and are blamed for the recent hacking of a U.S. Marines recruiting website.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart says the United States has been training its cyber forces to be equipped and ready to deal with any threat.

“If any nation or group chooses to use cyberspace against the interests of the United States or against the United States, we will use our cyber forces to prepare to defend ourselves and provide appropriate responses," said Pickart.

Details of the plans for a cyber offensive are a closely guarded secret, says defense analyst Anthony Cordesman:

“To know how dependent the Syrian government really is on systems that can be affected by cyber warfare is one of the most sensitive areas of intelligence that we have.  And the thing that you also have to remember is you do not want in a limited case to give away anything like the most sophisticated capabilities you have because you provide a detailed warning in terms of far more serious contingencies," said Cordesman.

For now, U.S. ships are standing by near Syria as a show of force.  The carrier USS Nimitz is on an extended assignment in the Red Sea for at least a few more days.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs