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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs