US Considering Options in Syria

Assuming he’s not a loose cannon, General Martin Dempsey cites options that USA could employ to make friends and influence people in Syria. However, this statement is dementia: “We have learned from the past 10 years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state”

see Syria conflict: Top US general outlines military options.

Syria has not been a functioning state for years now. Functioning states don’t murder their citizens by the thousands and torture children and bomb bread-lines… Three years ago, preserving Syria would have been sensible. Now it has to be torn down and rebuilt. Syria cannot function with a minority controlling a military running amok.

The options Dempsey lists should all be applied, ASAP. Create routes to supply and train the new government and its forces by air, land and sea and give them all the tools they need. Dismantle Assad’s forces if they don’t turn against Assad. Provide the rebels with tactical air-support as well as bombardment of longer-term strategic targets like command and control, air force, armoured forces, artillery, and chemical weapons. Target Assad, for that matter. Syrians are angry about the neglect they have received from humanity. Try to undo that with help better late than never.

It is unreasonable to withdraw numerous forces for training. Bring out a few trainers and send them back into secured areas to give training. In two months the rebels will have superior weaponry and tactics and the fighting should be over by the end of the year or sooner if Assad is taken out.

I would tell the Russians in advance, just as if missiles were about to be launched. Give them time to get out of the way but nothing more. They may be able to persuade Assad to leave without destroying the country.

Halfway measures or dribbles of support are not the way to go. The summer is ideal for military operations. Finish the job as quickly as possible. Have Assad surrounded and helpless by the time winter arrives. At least he won’t be able to kill many more then.

USA should not do this alone. They should request boatloads of military materiel from all USA’s allies ready for delivery in a few weeks. Critical supplies should be air-dropped tomorrow night: radios, ammunition, rifles, light rockets,… and every plane and airport under Assad’s control should be disabled within hours. This support should not let up with minced words from Assad. Only concrete steps to arrange a new democratic government with international supervision during the transition should be acceptable to moderate support. The taps should be open wide until Assad accepts change acceptable to the opposition.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to US Considering Options in Syria

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson Nothern alliance had a female president. Yes and female members of the parliament. There rules required the parliament to be 50 percent men and 50 percent women. Most sex balance parliament ever.

    Women of the Northern alliance had an army at there disposal. This was not enough. There was too many free arms in the hands of trouble makers.

    Mixed Gender Schools with no education cap on girls and women in Northern alliance areas run all the time of the Taliban. We as a world allows a very forward looking government to fail. No support was sent even that it was requested.

    Afghanistan is on of the USA biggest screw ups.

    There are big reasons. Afghanistan says we cannot just send arms. Or what risks happen is a good government when it does form will get over thrown as well.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “CIA armed 40 different rebel groups in Afghanistan. Also the Russians left behind arms.”

    Arming groups is not the same as arming Afghanistan. How many arms did the women have to protect their children and their schools?

  3. oiaohm says:

    “Afghanistan has never been armed. ”
    This is not true. CIA armed 40 different rebel groups in Afghanistan. Also the Russians left behind arms.

    “They had too weak an army to oppose the Taliban after the Russians left.”
    This is true 40 different factions do not make a stable army. So the Taliban could cause in fighting between the factions and get dominance.

    Taliban was out gunned at least 15 to 1 when russia left. They got control because there was not a unified army to keep the peace. There was a diplomatically appointed government in place in Afghanistan when the Russians left.

    Please note my words armed populace. Population armed does not create stability. Armed forces unified promised to protect the people in the form of police and mil offices is what you require to have peace.

    Those joining the police and army have todo it as long term contracts. Problem with rebels is a lot are really short term contracts once Assard falls they will stop. Same as what happened in Afghanistan when russia left. This creates a very risky power vacuum and poorly protected weapons.

    By the way Robbert do you know what the Northern alliance was in Afghanistan. They were the voted in government when russia left. There armed forces were made up of the factions that unified too late to stop the Taliban taking over most of the country.
    The same form of peace accords where in place in Afghanistan as are in place in Syria now. This is why it is very important to learn from history.

    Taliban were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. They were first referred to as the Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan. There is trouble turning up in Syria from so called Muslim Brotherhood. Inspired from Muslim Brotherhood can be hazard.

    We have a perfect repeat Robert. Sending in stacks of arms and taking no responsibility to build a police force and army out of them is what created the Afghanistan mess.

    This is the problem Robert sending arms will not work alone. Heck you would be better of sending contracted security than sending guns. Yes I know the equal to modern day mercs. At least you can screen the modern-day mercs to reduce chances of genocide.

  4. bilbophile wrote, “the only successful end of the military action can be handing over the power to a national government which is at the same time sufficiently strong to survive on its own and sufficiently committed to internal peace and human rights. “

    The Syrian people can do that. There are plenty of models to imitate including the one USA took: constitutional convention and implementation in a year or two. That was very chaotic but it worked. Syria can work too, but it is up to the Syrians to make it work. They know better than anyone the problems.

  5. bilbophile says:

    If things had been that simple, Israel would have toppled the Saddam regime in the 1960s or 1970s. They had both the will and the military strength to do it.
    The bottom line is that a military operation makes no sense without an exit strategy. For a US intervention to pacify a country in civil war, the only successful end of the military action can be handing over the power to a national government which is at the same time sufficiently strong to survive on its own and sufficiently committed to internal peace and human rights. Otherwise, the financial, political and diplomatic costs will skyrocket while the humanitarian tragedy will only be suspended (partially) for the duration of the US occupation (see Somalia and Clinton’s operation). Unlike Somalia however, Syria is an interesting target for regional players, mainly Iran and therefore any political void left behind after an US retreat will be quickly filled up in a rather unpleasant way.

  6. bw wrote, “Israel has shown itself quite capable of defending itself. “

    Nope. It has depended on $billions annually from US government, US citizens, and others, including many megatons of weaponry such as the “Patriot” missiles.

    Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are 10X more dedicated to wiping out Israel than Syria ever was. They will use the chemical weapons.

  7. bw says:

    Israel is doomed

    Remind me of why I should care. Even so, Israel has shown itself quite capable of defending itself. They do have nuclear weapons everyone suspects, and they have in the past taken on Syria and Egypt at the same time and still has Gaza and the West Bank to show for it. Plus, a Syrian “fall” to anyone cannot be much worse for Israel than the current regime.

    Let the Germans rescue the Israelis. That would be a switch.

  8. bw wrote, “The USA should not do this at all.”

    USA has invested many $billions and lives on Israel. If Syria falls to hostile elements, Israel is doomed. Israel will be forced to be involved and has already made air-strikes. USA has to support Syrians or lose Israel entirely.

  9. bw says:

    USA should not do this alone

    The USA should not do this at all. We have learned the lesson of Iraq, I hope, and are not stupid enough to repeat it. The US went into Afghanistan with a sort of shoestring operation that used some special forces and CIA to organize indigenous factions to kick the Taliban out of power and more or less take over the place in short order. There was a lot of international support and even participation since the terrorism aspect was of concern to all and the price paid in Afghanistan was fairly minimal.

    Iraq was a different story entirely and is much more along the lines of the situation in Syria. The in crowd there does not like us and has sided with Russia (nee USSR). They like us even less than Sadam’s old crowd.

    The world did not really agree with our wanting to kick over the regime there either and we had to do most of the work ourselves with no help. Then we found out the premises of the action were not really true and went into some democratic world building exercise to save some face that has cost more than a trillion bucks so far. I think that trillion literally going up in smoke is what brought about the world recession of the past 6 years.

    Who knows? The “Arab spring” thing might have taken down all of these dictatorial systems on its own and without any need to blame it on the US which is just as disliked as ever, even having spent so much money on the problem.

    Let the Arabs and Europeans clean up their own mess for once.

  10. oiaohm wrote, “That is the problem Afghanistan is a clear example of a Armed populace falling under Al Qaeda control.”

    Afghanistan has never been armed. They had too weak an army to oppose the Taliban after the Russians left. As the USA and others leave now, the Taliban is far from “control” and Al Qaeda is scarcely involved.

  11. oiaohm says:

    Yes some of the historically important battles like The Rats of Tobruk where long drawn out battles due to both sides not being sure of resupply. So have to drop back to closed quarters bayonets combat.

    History tells us a lot. Not being able to resupply ammo cause a lot more due care to be taken. This also brings you to man power as well. The one with the most men holding bladed weapons has the best chance of winning if guns are not usable.

  12. oiaohm says:

    “An armed populace does not fall to Al Qaeda or Hezbollah.”
    That is the problem Afghanistan is a clear example of a Armed populace falling under Al Qaeda control.

    Few key points that make it possible. In the rebellion against Russia the population was not properly unified. So at the end of the battle the Talliban that become Al Qaeda supportter went around first picking off the smaller groups and forcing members of those groups to join their ranks. Either cooperate or we kill/kidnap your relations.

    East Timor and other areas Australia has handle has been very careful not to random-ally hand out weapons. Police and Mil personal are the ones who weapons should be restricted to. Even in East Timor it was not simple for Australia to leave. Had to return a few times to sort out faction on faction fighting. But all factions trusted the Australian forces to be fair.

    Australian solder sees anyone who is not proper police or mil force(either side) using weapon will be shot at to kill. Yes UN rules requires uniform so enemies can clearly identify each other. Anyone breaking an agreed cease fire will also be fired on. That is the key job of peace keepers to enforce cease fire agreements.

    Some of the Syrian rebels have been caught doing deads not suitable and morally wrong.

    The other problem here the extremists will be the ones to pretend at first to lay down their arms then strike when the time is right.

    Its hard to deploy peace keepers properly. The important thing is neutrality. Like giving arms to one side and not the other is not neutrality in the battle.

    The simplest form of neutrality is don’t aid either side. Instead direct provide items to create neutrality. Like airstrikes to remove tanks. Drone coverage to all sides about everyone placements. Yes its very hard to do surprise attacks if there like a 24 weather forecast of where your forces are.

    Yes broadcasting force location helps those wanting to get out as well.

    Robbert is basically impossible just providing arms to be sure they will end up in the right hands once government systems are broken.

    You cannot say that russia and china are netural in the syria issue. If UN laws is working correctly those who are not neutral should also exposed to restrictions on trade.

    Robbert how can you effectively do a war if you ammo supply is not dependable.

    Its call the broken supply line stale mate. Both side of a battle have there supply lines for ammo broken at quite common both will enter stand off pattens. Why neither can afford to be left in the location with no ammo.

    Remember a gun might be able to kill assad. But a gun cannot effective create a stable replacement. Only the pen can create a stable replacement.

    All actions have to have 1 goal in mind. How to get the parties to the treaty table. This can include charging and kill particular people due to war crimes. War criminals cannot sit at the treaty table.

  13. ram wrote, “Official Russian and Chinese news channels have made it very clear that if the US attacks Syria they will face WWIII.
    There is no US interest in Syria that is worth the destruction of the mainland USA.”

    WWIII stemming from the Syrian civil war is a silly concept. Neither Russia nor China have any huge interest in Syria except to maintain some influence. They can do that with supplying arms or technology to whomever runs the country. There is nothing unique about Assad that appeals to them. Assad is not a communist nor even a socialist. He is just the dictator du jour of a tiny country. They would no more go to war for his downfall than they would for his death followed by some power-struggle in the palace.

    The quicker Assad goes, the sooner Russia and China will adapt to the new reality.

  14. bilbophile wrote, “no faction in this war seems to be willing or at least capable of establishing a government based on the rule of law.”

    Not so. Most factions are busy fighting. They are all tired of fighting and will gladly surrender the power of the rifle for the rule of law. The end-result is of course up in the air but it is the Syrians’ business, not ours. In the end the Syrians will get what they want, not what the USA wants, and not what Al Qaeda and others want. An armed populace does not fall to Al Qaeda or Hezbollah. Arm the Syrians and they will take care of Assad and every other thugs that show up.

  15. Agent_Smith wrote, “the rebels are all Al-Qaeda”.

    That’s a fact not in evidence. Many of the rebels are just defending their neighbourhoods from murdering gangs sent out by Assad. The largest organized group of rebels consists of ex-Assad officers, their soldiers and recruits, nothing at all to do with Al Qaeda or religious fundamentalism or extremism, just survival and freedom.

  16. Agent_Smith says:

    Oh, well… This situation is very unique. Assad is a cruel dictator. And the rebels are all Al-Qaeda.
    Tell me about jump from the pan into the fire.

  17. bilbophile says:

    Any USA-backed foreign intervention will eventually have to hand over the power to a local government. Unfortunately, no faction in this war seems to be willing or at least capable of establishing a government based on the rule of law.
    It is therefore likely that such a foreign occupation would not improve things there, on the contrary, on the long term, the final outcome may be worse both diplomatically and in terms of human rights.
    The Western infidels would be perceived as tools of Satan and the local supporters of the rule of law would be discredited as traitors in their pay.
    The only way to peace would be to convince the parties in the conflict to solve their differences peacefully and reach a sustainable cease-fire or a workable power-transition agreement. That could involve persuasion by means of military force or peace-keeping troops when all ends well, but no US, UN or any other foreign administration.
    Sadly, the experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt (as a counterexample) show this is the least bad option.

  18. ram says:

    Official Russian and Chinese news channels have made it very clear that if the US attacks Syria they will face WWIII.

    There is no US interest in Syria that is worth the destruction of the mainland USA. What is with you North Americans, are you out of your minds? Attacking distant countries that posed no threat to you? What? To steal what little petroleum is left?

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