Obama Cannot Back Down, But Will Have Trouble Moving Forward On Syria

Obama’s Worst Choice: Exiting From Its Stated Policy
Michael Young writes in Lebanon NOW that Obama likely issued his “red line” warning to reassure Israel than to actually dissuade Syria and that “Washington’s concern with Israel explains Obama’s refusal to arm the foes of the Assad regime, fearing that Israel might become their next target.”

Nonetheless, he maintains, “the worst thing the administration can do is to continue to show that it is looking for an exit from its stated policy.”

Iran, China, Russia Likely To Oppose Any Intervention
Yet, as James F. Jeffrey notes in Foreign Policy, there will be military consequences to intervening in Syria, but there also will be diplomatic reverberations – namely where China, Iran and Russia are concerned.

“Washington must anticipate even less progress in nuclear negotiations, greater destabilization in Iraq, increased Iranian asymmetrical adventures, new confrontations in the Gulf, and possibly even full-out nuclear weapons development,” says Jeffrey, who notes all three have “ideological and strategic interests in preserving Assad’s rule.”

Securing Syria’s Stockpiles Could Take Years
A recent Congressional Research Service report provides a detailed analysis of the Syrian conflict to date, as well as the potential implications and challenges facing US and international policymakers moving forward. As the focus has been on whether or not Syria has used chemical weapons, if the US intervenes, they will face the daunting question of how to secure Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

“According to some press reports, internal U.S. government assessments estimate that as many as 75,000 military personnel could be required to fully secure various WMD-related sites in Syria. One report suggests that due to the age and probably poor condition of Syria’s chemical stockpiles, any international effort to dispose of the weapons could take years and significant numbers of troops for force protection around chemical depots.”

IN OTHER NEWS:

The United Nations Security Council voted to approve a 12,000-plus peacekeeping force to be dispatched to Mali.

Former Yale professor Donald Kagan recently sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss American universities and the teaching of Western civilization.

World Immunization Day: The World Health Organization has set forth a plan to improve the delivery of vaccines in the coming years.

 

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