From Reuters, in Toronto Star, June 14,2013
ANKARA/WASHINGTON- The United States is considering imposing a no-fly zone in Syria, in what would be its first direct military intervention of the two-year-old civil war, Western diplomats said on Friday, after the White House said Syria had crossed a “red line” by using nerve gas.
After months of equivocating, President Barack Obama’s administration said on Thursday it would now arm rebels, having obtained proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons against fighters trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
Two senior Western diplomats said Washington is mulling a no-fly zone close to Syria’s southern border with Jordan.
“Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad’s opponents,” one diplomat said. He said it would be limited “time-wise and area-wise, possibly near the Jordanian border,” without giving details.
Imposing a no-fly zone would require the United States to destroy Syria’s air defences, entering the two-year-old civil war with the sort of action that NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago.
The area near the Jordanian border contains some of the most densely-populated parts of Syria, including the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
Washington has moved Patriot surface-to-air missiles, war planes and more than 4,000 troops into Jordan in the past week, officially as part of an annual exercise but making clear that the forces deployed could stay on when the war games are over.
The Russians have already told the world that they are committed to shipping a substantial number of S-300 air defence missiles to Assad who is already being supported by both Iran and Hezbollah, Iran shipping weapons THROUGH Iraq (an Ameircan ally?) into Syria in support of the Syrian regime...and so the actors' list is nearly complete on the playbill of another war in the Middle East theatre.. So far China has yet to declare that she will send arms to Assad, in support of him and his allies, although there did support Russian efforts to veto a UN resolution asking Assad to step down.
Britain and France have stated publicly that they were, for several weeks now, aware of the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian opposition by Assad; it was the U.S. under Obama who was demonstrating a measured, deliberate and almost reluctant defiance, refusing to decide to enter the civil war that has already killed nearly 100,000 and maimed thousands of others, as well as leaving over a million refugees in neighbouring countries of Jordan and Turkey. We now learn, from Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, that former Secretary of State Clinton and former Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, were arguing the case for intervention in Syria prior to leaving office in the Obama cabinet.
Particularly galling in the timing of the announcement of the White House decision is the fact that Senator John McCain went to the floor of the U.S. Senate and pre-empted the White House announcement, rending the decision in the most negative light possible....that it would now lead to an outcome that no one could predict or estimate.
Problem is, McCain is probably right that this newest attempt to declare war by the U.S., with only limited engagement, can and and will only see the inevitable "creep" as each intervention proves not to resolve the dispute but rather to enhance the need for additional interventions....at a time when the U.S. population is suffering from "war fatigue" and the White House is also fighting so many domestic skirmishes that it has run out of finger to keep track. On the only issue on which the Democratic president can count on Republican votes to support his efforts, the declaration of another war, it seems the Republic opposition is still determined to destroy the President, even though its voting booth option is now off the table forever.
Bury him under so much pressure, inflict as many wounds as is conceivable, and hope that he will succumb through a tragic illness, or some unforseen mistake in judgement for which the only solution is resignation....
We have all heard of people who demonstrated what sociologists call "slow suicide" through such excessive and drawn-out methods as smoking and drinking to excess on a dailiy basis. Well, perhaps we are watching what in political terms might be called "slow assassination" of the president by his Republican opponents. Never in the last three-quarters of a century has there been a U.S. president whose relations with the "other side" have been as vicious, as toxic and as damaging to the country as the current Republican opposition to Obama...and it is certainly not going to abate unless and until he leaves office, however that might happen.