Wednesday, 20 April 2016

No-Fly Zone: Why Candidates’ Favorite Syria Solution Is No Easy Feat

  "They say a no-fly zone is an act of war against a sovereign nation that still has a seat at the United Nations."

 No, régimes committing war crimes and crimes against humanity are not protected by their retention of a UN seat from actions designed to prevent the commission of those crimes.

 "Establishing a no-fly zone—two, actually, as advocates have proposed one in Syria’s south and one in its north—would dramatically escalate American involvement in Syria’s civil war, require a ground force willing to defend the sanctuary, and do little to directly challenge ISIS’ control of territory outside the zone."

 1. It wouldn't dramatically escalate America's involvement. Every time Assad has been threatened, he has backed off. He barely has an army to call his own left, he's not going to fight the US when he can't fight poorly-armed Syrians.
2. The ground force is the Free Syrian Army. If it gets relief from the air, it is so much easier for it to recruit and retain those wishing to free their country, rather than them going to the Islamist militias or on boats to Europe.
3. The Free Syrian Army has been the most effective force against ISIS, despite being the worst armed, and ISIS concentrating its attacks on the FSA. When ISIS lost ground to the FSA in Northern Aleppo last week, it launched 13 vehicle borne IEDs in retaliation. Allowing the FSA and the liberated areas relief from Assad's bombing would allow them to deploy more resources against ISIS, and as Assad is the greatest recruiting sergeant for ISIS, once he is gone it will be much easier to get rid of ISIS entirely.

 "If the primary goals are stopping Assad’s barrel bombing of civilian populations, or degrading ISIS, there are less burdensome ways to accomplish them."
 Let's hear them. Giving the FSA anti-aircraft weapons might be more effective, but that is precisely the policy that the US has vetoed since Assad's bombing campaign started.

 "Perhaps most importantly, absent a wider strategy for ending the war, a no-fly zone could essentially freeze the Syrian conflict in place, leaving U.S. air power, already stretched thin, mired in a costly operation with no definable end."
 It's not true. Assad has faced losing to a much worse armed force repeatedly, because he has no real support, and has required massive foreign intervention to keep him on life support. In 2013 a massive intervention by Hezbollah, in 2014 by Iran itself, in 2015 by Russia. If you take away his ability to force those who might show any opposition to leave the country, he has no strategy left, and his ability to keep any of the country hostage to his survival diminishes. Take steps that would weaken him are the way to bring the conflict to an end, because it is his out of control torture-rape state that is the source of instability. When a major source of state employees income is selling torture victims back to their families, there is no way that state can ever be at peace with its victims.

 "Some military experts believe the Russian warplane shot down by Turkey was probing inside that NATO ally’s airspace precisely to send a message that Moscow would oppose establishment of a no-fly zone along the border."

 And the Russians didn't try it again when the Turks shot the plane down. Putin has enough trouble with the wars he has started in Crimea and now Syria, and it is only the present administration's persistent backing off that has encouraged him to push his luck.'

No comments:

Post a Comment