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US Strike on Syria May Have Unintended Consequences

US Strike on Syria May Have Unintended Consequencesi
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September 07, 2013 3:17 AM
A U.S. attack against Syria could have unintended consequences and may not deter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, some Middle East analysts say. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
US Strike on Syria May Have Unintended Consequences
Meredith Buel
A U.S. attack against Syria could have unintended consequences and may not deter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, some Middle East analysts say.

The cruise missiles are ready. The targets are being identified.

President Barack Obama is making the case for a U.S. attack.

“It is limited. It does not involve boots on the ground. This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan,” said Obama.

But analysts say Syria's military can withstand a limited strike. Some analysts are concerned that anything short of a robust attack may not deter Damascus.

Syrian analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy said, "If there is not an adequate response to the use of chemical weapons, it is very likely that he will continue to use them.”

Obama's decision to seek Congressional approval has delayed any attack, reportedly allowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to move troops and military equipment to civilian areas.

U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
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U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
Former CIA officer and Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht said, “I would imagine that the Syrians, since they have had so much time, have taken their materiel [the French term for military equipment] and put it in places that are not easily hit by a cruise missile. It would require fighter bombers to do that.”

And U.S. warplanes may be in the mix. An aircraft carrier is now within striking distance of Damascus.

Syrian opposition groups are concerned limited strikes will not tip the balance on the battlefield.  

Khaled Saleh of the Syrian National Coalition wants regime change.

“It is time to move the power from the family, the mafia that controlled Syria for the last 40 years. Now it is time to move that power into the hands of the Syrian people,” said Saleh.

With Western warnings about its controversial nuclear program, Iran, too, is watching.

“If we do not do something in Syria, I think the odds of the Iranians taking us seriously are zero,” said Gerecht.

Polls show many war-weary Americans are opposed to involvement in Syria’s civil war.

The president also has an uphill battle convincing Congress.

Senior analyst Michael O’Hanlon is more optimistic. “In the end, I don’t believe the administration is going to get a lot of flak from the American public, from the Congress, or from the allies. On the other hand, if they miscalculate or something goes wrong, all bets are off.”

On Tuesday night Obama will address the American people, while the war in Syria grinds on.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

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by: Syed Azmathullah Khaderi from: India
September 07, 2013 12:13 PM
What is the difference between the tolerated endless drone killings of Obama and a suspected one-time chemical attack by Assad. Assad appears more sociable in comparison.


by: grasspress from: east bay ca
September 07, 2013 10:05 AM
'Syrian analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy said, "If there is not an adequate response to the use of chemical weapons, it is very likely that he will continue to use them.”'

and if there is no response he will continue to use them.

In Response

by: Joshua Flynn from: UK
September 07, 2013 5:52 PM
"and if there is no response he will continue to use them."

You're assuming he even used them in the first place. The previous sarin gas attack turned out to be the Syrian rebels, and the basis for accusation in this case is a youtube video but no solid evidence - please be aware the Syrian rebels have access to sarin gas (ironically also evidenced in youtube videos).

But sure, whatever. Believe the 'rar rar' rhetoric which tries to rush ahead of any form of analysis by the UN (who are skeptical of the claims from the west given the west were wrong about it being Assad the last time).


by: Markt
September 07, 2013 7:27 AM
just watched that short video above, and it makes my heart ache in sorrow. For every action, there is an equal reaction. Every shot fired, every rocket used, there is a target that is getting hit, a person getting killed. And we want to add to that misery and death? I have seen the effects of battle, as a former Marine, it is not something I would wish to see again, or even know of it happening again. Anyone who has ever fired a weapon in anger in a combat role would never want to do so again. It saddens me beyond belief just to know this is happening.
And this President wants to heap more suffering on a people already suffering and dying....
Enough already, please stop this nonsense...my heart cannot endure any more of it.

In Response

by: Mo Lang Cho from: Hanoi- Viet Nam
September 07, 2013 10:15 AM
Send to Markt
Nobody likes the war but how to avoid it?
Yes, if the war happens there are people die. But there are still people die in peace, are'nt they?
I am a vietnamese so that I understand the cost of the war. The war is far away about 30 years, but living in peace without freedom, how does the peace cost? what the mean is?
In my opion, the crisis or problem can not solve by the talk so it can only solve by the war to end the problem. Do you know there are alot of people always likely to die for freedom? Because of your opinion the freedom that is the best worth.

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